Definition of spiral noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈspaɪrəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈspaɪrəl//
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  1. 1a shape or design, consisting of a continuous curved line that winds around a central point, with each curve further away from the centre The birds circled in a slow spiral above the house. A spiral of smoke rose from the chimney.
  2. 2a continuous harmful increase or decrease in something, that gradually gets faster and faster the destructive spiral of violence in the inner cities measures to control the inflationary spiral the upward/downward spiral of sales the vicious spiral of rising wages and prices
  3. Word Originmid 16th cent. (as an adjective): from medieval Latin spiralis, from Latin spira ‘coil’, from Greek speira ‘a coil’.Extra examples The economy continued its downward spiral. There is a risk that the policy may trigger an inflationary spiral. to halt the vicious downward spiral of drug abuse How can we halt the destructive spiral of violence in the inner cities? The book gives a harrowing account of a downward spiral of drink, drugs and despair. The country is caught in a vicious spiral of rising wages and prices.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: spiral