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Meaning of “spiral” in the English Dictionary

"spiral" in British English

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spiralnoun [C]

uk   /ˈspaɪə.rəl/ us   /ˈspaɪr.əl/
a shape made up of curves, each one above or wider than the one before: A corkscrew is spiral-shaped.
downward spiral
C2 a situation in which a price, etc. becomes lower, or a situation gets worse and is difficult to control because one bad event causes another: This year's downward spiral of house prices has depressed the market. We have to avoid the downward spiral in which unemployment leads to homelessness and then to crime.

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spiralverb [I usually + adv/prep]

uk   /ˈspaɪə.rəl/ us   /ˈspaɪr.əl/ -ll- or US usually -l-
to move in a spiral: With one wing damaged, the model airplane spiralled downwards.
If costs, prices, etc. spiral, they increase faster and faster: Spiralling costs have squeezed profits.
spiral downwards
(of prices, etc.) to become less, at a faster and faster rate
If a situation spirals, it quickly gets worse in a way that becomes more and more difficult to control: Violence in the country is threatening to spiral out of control. He spiralled into a drug addiction that cost him his life.

spiraladjective [before noun]

uk   /ˈspaɪə.rəl/ us   /ˈspaɪr.əl/
shaped in a series of curves, each one above or wider than the one before: a spiral staircase a spiral galaxy
(Definition of spiral from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"spiral" in American English

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spiralnoun [C]

us   /ˈspɑɪ·rəl/
a shape of a continuous, curving line that forms circles around a center point: A corkscrew is made in a spiral. fig. Roy was bitter about the downward spiral of his life (= it was becoming continuously worse).
spiral
adjective [not gradable] us   /ˈspɑɪ·rəl/

spiralverb [I]

us   /ˈspɑɪ·rəl/ -l-, -ll-
to move in a spiral: The engine quit, and my beautiful model airplane spiraled downward. High winds spiraled around the storm center.
(Definition of spiral from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"spiral" in Business English

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spiralnoun [C]

uk   /ˈspaɪərəl/ us  
a situation in which prices, levels, rates, etc. go down, or in which a situation gets worse and is difficult to control because one bad event causes another: a spiral of sth The world's two biggest economies are caught in a spiral of borrowing. This year's downward spiral of house prices has depressed the market. My former colleagues have been stuck in a spiral that continues to say, the only way we can continue our profit margins is to cut good journalism, and that is to me a death spiral.

spiralverb [I, usually + adv/prep]

uk   /ˈspaɪərəl/ us   UK -ll-, US -l-
also spiral up/upward(s) if costs, prices, etc. spiral, they increase quickly: Costs spiral, and the patient is subjected to tests they don't need. Inflation began to spiral upward.spiral (from sth) to sth The country's foreign debt spiralled from $840 million to $2.6 billion.
spiral downwards
if costs, prices, etc. spiral downwards, they go down quickly: Stock prices have spiralled downwards for the past two weeks.
spiral out of control
if a situation spirals out of control, it becomes impossible to control because one bad event causes another: The project spiraled out of control, running $300 million over budget. There is a great deal of evidence that internet gambling is spiralling rapidly out of control.
spiralling
US spiraling
spiralling fuel costs
(Definition of spiral from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“spiral” in British English

“spiral” in American English

“spiral” in Business English

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Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
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