go into a tailspin

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go into a tailspin

1. Literally, to spiral to the ground, as of an airplane. The plane briefly went into a tailspin before the pilot was able to correct it.
2. By extension, to become emotionally unstable. Robin has wanted to go to that college for so long that I'm worried she'll go into a tailspin if she doesn't get in.

go into a tailspin

 
1. Lit. [for an airplane] to lose control and spin to the earth, nose first. The plane shook and then suddenly went into a tailspin. The pilot was not able to bring the plane out of the tailspin, and it crashed into the sea.
2. . Fig. [for someone] to become disoriented or panicked; [for someone's life] to fall apart. Although John achieved great success, his life went into a tailspin. It took him a year to get straightened out. After her father died, Mary's world fell apart, and she went into a tailspin.

go into a tailspin

Lose emotional control, collapse, panic. For example, If she fails the bar exam again, she's sure to go into a tailspin. This expression alludes to the downward movement of an airplane out of control, in which the tail describes a spiral. [Early 1900s]