spiral - definition in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online (US)

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English definition of “spiral”

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spiral

noun [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 must avoid the downward spiral in which unemployment leads to homelessness and then to crime.
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spiral

verb [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 get less, at a faster and faster rate

spiral

adjective [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 Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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