Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Language: Medieval Latin
Origin: spiralis (adjective), from Latin spira 'coil'

spiral

1 noun
     
Related topics: Shapes, Patterns
spi‧ral1 [countable]
1CF a line in the form of a curve that winds around a central point, moving further away from the centre all the time
2 a process, usually a harmful one, in which something gradually but continuously gets worse or better
in/into a spiral
Unemployment rose and the city went into a spiral of decline.
downward/upward spiral
The company is in a downward spiral.
3

inflationary spiral

a situation in which wages and prices rise continuously because the level of inflation is high
spiral adjective

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