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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
downward spiral
▪ She was caught in a downward spiral of drink and drugs.
inflationary spiral (=a continuing rise in both wages and prices)
▪ A new round of wage increases could trigger an inflationary spiral .
spiral notebook
spiral staircase
spiralling/soaring inflation (=inflation that is increasing quickly and out of control)
▪ Argentina was suffering from spiralling inflation.
▪ My theory is we're going into this horrible downward spiral and Clinton is a poor imitation of Kennedy.
▪ So those economic dynamics contribute to a continuing downward spiral.
▪ But the significance of the Merck move is that it signals a downward spiral in drug prices.
▪ It has continued on that downward spiral since.
▪ What might prompt Mr Wahid's opponents to act would be if the economy continues its downward spiral.
▪ Perhaps the most shocking news was that children got hit the hardest in this downward spiral.
▪ After an unfortunate and ill-timed brush with the law, it was almost impossible for Marinello to arrest his downward spiral.
▪ The dole is just a downward spiral.
▪ The inflationary spiral constituted a grave threat which, if not halted, could jeopardise the entire economy.
▪ He started blustering about the general election and an end to the inflationary spiral.
▪ At that point, however, the still increasing emissions of carbon dioxide will begin the upward spiral once more.
▪ Alternatively, or in addition, the upward spiral is the product of some of the surprising consequences of co-operation.
▪ The tyres squeal like piglets around endless upward spirals.
▪ It's a vicious spiral: she feeds it, I feed her -.
▪ Pursuit encourages further retreat, and so a vicious spiral is established which can destabilize a relationship.
▪ The process goes into a vicious spiral, on a timescale of hundreds of thousands of years.
▪ It was always worse going down, and spiral stairs were the very devil in the dark if you had big feet.
▪ They looked up the spiral stair.
▪ She pulled herself back up the spiral staircase and made for the bathroom.
▪ In the same building there is triple spiral staircase.
▪ Imagine three spiral staircases starting from the ground 120 degrees apart in plan view, and twisting round one another!
▪ At the top of the spiral staircases are two wooden trapdoors leading on to the battlements.
▪ But then they began to climb up a narrow, spiral staircase, and she saw no more.
▪ No doubt she'd soon get used to it she told herself as she followed Kerly down a metal spiral staircase.
▪ A narrow spiral staircase leads up from chamber 2b to 2c; characters must ascend in single file.
▪ Well-dressed suckers were pouring out of the upstairs theatre, barrelling down the rickety spiral staircase, skidding on the highly polished floor.
▪ It has continued on that downward spiral since.
▪ It is difficult to cook the inside spirals because of the filling so this extra time is important.
▪ Perhaps the most shocking news was that children got hit the hardest in this downward spiral.
▪ Self-pity tends to block taking action that will be truly effective in reversing the downward spirals of primary and family diseases.
▪ And she felt herself spiralling down into the fiery darkness.
▪ Those arriving high in the sky descend by banking sharply on out-stretched wings, then spiral down.
▪ He says it will spiral down to 1,800 by next year.
▪ Soon afterwards a wind sent the last of its bright leaves spiralling down.
▪ To lose height pilots have to spiral down to the runway.
▪ Eighty-seven steps spiralling down sixty feet below ground level, into the Foot Tunnel beneath the Thames.
▪ Yet, the fact that costs have been spiralling out of control is evident.
▪ Adler launched into Summertime-that glorious thing he has been playing since he worked with Gershwin, spinning out spiralling improvisations.
▪ But that was the day the crisis spiralled out of control.
▪ But is borrowing spiralling out of control?
▪ The holy water spiralled out of the bottle and hit Vlad full in the chest.
▪ Blue magnesium flares went spiralling up into the chilly night.
▪ This marble figure seems to flame and spiral up, surging, groaning like an earthquake, subsiding even as he rises.
▪ In the wall opposite her was a landing from which concrete steps spiralled up and down.
▪ Flame-shaped bulbs spiralled up from gold-tone leaves.
▪ Too much was happening that he couldn't explain, things were spiralling out of his control.
▪ Yet, the fact that costs have been spiralling out of control is evident.
▪ But that was the day the crisis spiralled out of control.
▪ But is borrowing spiralling out of control?
▪ Since the project started five years ago, costs have spiralled.
▪ Smoke spiralled upward from the chimney.
▪ We watched the leaves spiral down from the trees in the cold autumn wind.
▪ With inflation spiralling out of control, the country was close to economic collapse.
▪ A black whirlwind, they fill the air with the click of leathery wings as they spiral through the trees.
▪ At a more complex psychological level, motion that spirals clockwise connects us to the Sun.
▪ Entranced, she watched herself watching them as they spiralled to earth around her.
▪ However, Clinton has disregarded the debt ceiling law, allowing the nation to spiral further into debt.
▪ Too much was happening that he couldn't explain, things were spiralling out of his control.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Spiral \Spi"ral\, n. [Cf. F. spirale. See Spiral, a.]

  1. (Geom.) A plane curve, not re["e]ntrant, described by a point, called the generatrix, moving along a straight line according to a mathematical law, while the line is revolving about a fixed point called the pole. Cf. Helix.

  2. Anything which has a spiral form, as a spiral shell.

    Equiangular spiral,a plane curve which cuts all its generatrices at the same angle. Same as Logarithmic spiral, under Logarithmic.

    Spiral of Archimedes, a spiral the law of which is that the generatrix moves uniformly along the revolving line, which also moves uniformly.


Spiral \Spi"ral\, a. [Cf. F. spiral. See Spire a winding line.]

  1. Winding or circling round a center or pole and gradually receding from it; as, the spiral curve of a watch spring.

  2. Winding round a cylinder or imaginary axis, and at the same time rising or advancing forward; winding like the thread of a screw; helical.

  3. (Geom.) Of or pertaining to a spiral; like a spiral.

    Spiral gear, or Spiral wheel (Mach.), a gear resembling in general a spur gear, but having its teeth cut at an angle with its axis, or so that they form small portions of screws or spirals.

    Spiral gearing, a kind of gearing sometimes used in light machinery, in which spiral gears, instead of bevel gears, are used to transmit motion between shafts that are not parallel.

    Spiral operculum, an operculum whih has spiral lines of growth.

    Spiral shell, any shell in which the whorls form a spiral or helix.

    Spiral spring. See the Note under Spring, n.,

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1550s, from Middle French spiral (16c.), from Medieval Latin spiralis "winding around a fixed center, coiling" (mid-13c.), from Latin spira "a coil, fold, twist, spiral," from Greek speira "a winding, a coil, twist, wreath, anything wound or coiled," from PIE *sper-ya-, from base *sper- (2) "to turn, twist." Related: Spirally. Spiral galaxy first attested 1913.


1726 (implied in spiraled), transitive, from spiral (n.). Intransitive use by 1834. Transferred and figurative sense by 1922. Related: Spiraling.


1650s, from spiral (adj.). U.S. football sense is from 1896. Figurative sense of "progressive movement in one direction" is by 1897. Of books, spiral-bound (adj.) is from 1937.

  1. helical, like a spiral n. 1 (context geometry English) A curve that is the locus of a point that rotates about a fixed point while continuously increasing its distance from that point. 2 (context informal English) A helix. 3 A self-sustaining process with a lot of momentum involved, so it is difficult to accelerate or stop it at once. v

  2. 1 (context intransitive English) To move along the path of a spiral or helix. 2 (context figuratively intransitive English) To increase continually.

  1. adj. in the shape of a coil [syn: coiling, helical, spiraling, volute, voluted, whorled, turbinate]

  2. [also: spiralling, spiralled]

  1. n. a plane curve traced by a point circling about the center but at ever-greater distances from it

  2. a curve that lies on the surface of a cylinder or cone and cuts the element at a constant angle [syn: helix]

  3. ornament consisting of a curve on a plane that winds around a center with an increasing distance from the center [syn: volute]

  4. a structure consisting of something wound in a continuous series of loops; "a coil of rope" [syn: coil, volute, whorl, helix]

  5. flying downward in a helical path with a large radius

  6. [also: spiralling, spiralled]

  1. v. to wind or move in a spiral course; "the muscles and nerves of his fine drawn body were coiling for action"; "black smoke coiling up into the sky"; "the young people gyrated on the dance floor" [syn: gyrate, coil]

  2. form a spiral; "The path spirals up the mountain"

  3. move in a spiral or zigzag course [syn: corkscrew]

  4. [also: spiralling, spiralled]


In mathematics, a spiral is a curve which emanates from a point, moving farther away as it revolves around the point.

Spiral (Vangelis album)

Spiral is a 1977 album by the Greek musician Vangelis. The sleeve design was by Vangelis. The recording engineer was Keith Spencer-Allen, assisted by Marlis Duncklau. It was inspired by ancient Tao philosophy, exploring the nature of the universe moving in spirals. For the track "To the Unknown Man" Vangelis received the Midem International Instrumental awards in 1978.

Spiral (disambiguation)

A spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting progressively farther away as it revolves around the point.

Spiral may also refer to:

Spiral (Suzuki novel)

is a 1995 Japanese novel, a part of author Koji Suzuki's Ring Cycle series. It is the second in the Ring Trilogy, and a film based on the book, Rasen was released in 1998. The English translation of the book was published by Vertical Press in the United States and by Harper Collins in Britain.

Spiral (dinghy)

The Spiral is a type or class of sailing dinghy. It is similar to a Laser (dinghy), but smaller and easier to manoeuvre on land and in the water, and suited to a skipper of smaller body weight and less athleticism than is a Laser.

Spiral (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

"Spiral" is the 20th episode of season 5 of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Spiral (piercing)

thumb|right|200px|Ear Spirals made out of glass. An ear spiral is a thick spiral that is usually worn through the ear lobe. It is worn in ears that have been stretched. It is normally held in place only by its own downward pressure. Glass ear spirals are shown but many materials are used. Some designs are quite ornate and may include decorative appendages flaring from the underlying concentric pattern.

Category:Body piercing jewellery

Spiral (comics)

Spiral (Rita Wayword) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with Longshot or the X-Men. Created by writer Ann Nocenti and artist Art Adams, the character first appeared in Longshot #1 (September, 1985), in which she was established as a lieutenant for that titular character's archenemy, Mojo. Prior to Longshot joining the X-Men, Spiral also became a recurring adversary of that team and each of the various X-Men subgroups, as well as serving as an archenemy of X-Men member, Psylocke.

Spiral (railway)

A spiral (sometimes called a spiral loop or just loop) is a technique employed by railways to ascend steep hills.

A railway spiral rises on a steady curve until it has completed a loop, passing over itself as it gains height, allowing the railway to gain vertical elevation in a relatively short horizontal distance. It is an alternative to a zig-zag, and avoids the need for the trains to stop and reverse direction while ascending. If the train is longer than the length of each loop it may be possible to view it looping above itself.

Often the phrase 'loop' is also used for a railway that curves sharply and goes back on itself, if the railway crosses itself then it forms a spiral, otherwise it forms the much more common horseshoe curve or bend.

A spiral loop is not the same as the transition spiral or spiral easement used to provide a transition from a tangent into a horizontal circular curve. Spiral easement is used to avoid abrupt changes in the sideward acceleration experienced by a railway vehicle and the passengers in the vehicle approaching the horizontal circular curve and to prevent abrupt forces and discomfort.

Spiral (building)

Spiral is a building by architect Fumihiko Maki in Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan. It was commissioned by lingerie company Wacoal and was completed in 1985. It is a multi-use building, with gallery space, multipurpose hall, cafe, restaurant and bar, salon, and shops. The defining feature of the building is a seemingly floating spiral ramp (15m in diameter) that encircles the rear gallery space and climbs to the second floor. The exterior facade of aluminum and glass reflects the jumbled nature of the surrounding streetscape. Also known as the Wacoal Art Center, Spiral is a nexus of cultural life in Aoyama, presenting music, art, film, and theater events.

Spiral (TV series)

Spiral (, ) is a French television police and legal drama series set in Paris. The show follows the lives and work of Paris police officers and the lawyers and judges who work at the Palais de Justice. It was created by the TV production company Son et Lumière.

The first series of eight-episodes started on Canal+ in France on 13 December 2005. The series was shown in the UK on BBC Four during the summer of 2006. It was the channel's first French-language drama series, attracting a modest but loyal audience (around 200,000) and firm critical approval. On 13 September 2009, BBC Four started showing the second series: another eight-part series, partly funded by the BBC, was broadcast from 12 May 2008. The third series was shown from 2 April 2011, and the fourth series from 9 February 2013, both consisting of twelve episodes.

Series 5 was filmed in 2013 and broadcast in France in late 2014, and in the UK on BBC Four from 10 January 2015. The sixth series has been ordered.

Spiral has been an export success, with sales to broadcasters in more than 70 countries including, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In Australia, the first series was broadcast in 2008 on SBS One, the second series on SBS Two from September 2009 and the third series on SBS Two from mid-2012. Spiral debuted in North America via Netflix in September 2012. All five seasons are currently available on Hulu.

The first series was released on DVD in France on 26 August 2006 and in the UK on 6 October 2008.

Spiral won the 2015 International Emmy Award for best drama series.

Spiral (bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton)

The Spiral is a bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track located in Iizuna village, located north of Nagano, Japan. Used for the bobsleigh and luge competitions for the 1998 Winter Olympics, it is the only permanent bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track in Asia and the only one of its type in the world with two uphill sections. It is officially referred to as the Nagano Bobsleigh-Luge Park in Japan.

Spiral (1978 film)

Spiral is a 1978 Polish drama film directed by Krzysztof Zanussi which tells the story of a stranger who turns up at a resort hotel in midwinter, behaves rudely towards other guests and disappears the next day. Found half-frozen in the snow he is taken to hospital where his story is gradually revealed.

It was entered into the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.

Spiral (Andrew Hill album)

Spiral is the fifteenth album by American jazz pianist Andrew Hill, recorded in late 1974 and early 1975 and released on the Freedom label. The album features six of Hill's original compositions and one interpretation of a jazz standard performed by a quartet and quintet. The cover incorrectly identifies the album as being recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival when it actually contains studio recordings.

Spiral (Stockhausen)

Spiral (Spiral [adj.], Spirally), for a soloist with a shortwave receiver, is a composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, written in 1968. It is Number 27 in the catalogue of the composer's works.

Spiral (Hiromi album)

Spiral is an album from Hiromi Uehara's trio featuring bassist Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora. It's said to be "part classical, part jazz and part simply unclassifiable."

Spiral (song)

"Spiral" was the Norwegian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1964, performed in Norwegian by Arne Bendiksen. This was the first occasion on which Norway had been represented by a male vocalist.

The song deals with Bendiksen's feelings of goodwill toward the world. He expresses these feelings through a series of largely unconnected descriptions of what he is doing while "my thoughts spiral". He makes reference to the fact that his thoughts are scattered, but dismisses the importance of this realisation as it spoils his happiness.

The song was performed third on the night, following the Netherlands' Anneke Grönloh with " Jij bent mijn leven" and preceding Denmark's Bjørn Tidmand with " Sangen om dig". At the close of voting, it had received 6 points, placing 8th in a field of 16.

It was succeeded as Norwegian representative at the 1965 Contest by Kirsti Sparboe with " Karusell".

Spiral (2007 film)

Spiral is a 2007 American psychological thriller produced by Coattails Entertainment and Ariescope Pictures. The film stars Joel David Moore, Amber Tamblyn, Zachary Levi, and Tricia Helfer. Spiral was co-directed by Moore and Adam Green. The original screenplay for the film was written by Moore and Jeremy Danial Boreing.

Spiral was an Official Selection and was awarded the "Gold Vision" Award at the 22nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2007. The "Gold Vision" Award is given for the "most innovative and unique film with an inspiring and groundbreaking vision."

Spiral was filmed in Portland, Oregon. The film grossed $3,072 in the USA.

Spiral (Pendulum song)

"Spiral" / "Ulterior Motive" is the first single by drum and bass band Pendulum. It was initially released on 10 July 2003, while the band were still based in Perth, as a promotional single by Kog Transmissions' sublabel Low Profile. The single was made publicly available on 1 March 2004 by Concord Dawn's label Uprising Records, with the same track listing as the promotional record. The record was released worldwide distributed by LOAD Media and is one of Uprising Records' highest selling singles.

Spiral (arts alliance)

Spiral was a collective of African-American artists initially formed by Romare Bearden, Charles Alston, Norman Lewis, and Hale Woodruff on July 5, 1963. It has since become the name of an exhibition, Spiral: Perspectives on an African-American Art Collective.

Spiral (Tunnels novel)

Spiral is the fifth novel in the Tunnels Series, written by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. It continues the story of Will Burrows in his struggle against the Styx, who have been a major and pernicious influence throughout mankind's history. Spiral was published in the United Kingdom by Chicken House on September 1, 2011, and publication in the US followed on May 1, 2012.

Spiral (Bobby Hutcherson album)

Spiral is an album by jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. It was released in 1979 on Blue Note Records (LT 996) featuring six tracks recorded in November, 1968, except for "Jasper", recorded in 1965 and later added to the CD reissue of Dialogue, since it was recorded the same day. The first five tracks of Spiral may also be found on the CD reissue of Medina.

Spiral (Allison Crowe album)

Spiral, released in 2010 (see 2010 in music), is the sixth studio album from musician Allison Crowe and the first to include strings and orchestration in addition to band elements. Tracks for this album were recorded in a range of locations across Canada and Europe, including Crowe's home-bases of Nanaimo, British Columbia and Corner Brook, Newfoundland as well as Vienna, Austria and on Salt Spring Island, Canada.

Kayla Schmah, a Los Angeles-based, Canadian-born, composer and film scorer, arranged and orchestrated the album's string sections and served as over-all producer.

Spiral is a collection of original songs composed by Allison Crowe on piano and guitar, alongside interpretations of several songs popular in different parts of the world: Throw Your Arms Around Me by Australia's Hunters and Collectors; Why from the United Kingdom's Annie Lennox; and, from her home country, Chelsea Hotel No. 2, the latest of several Leonard Cohen songs covered by Crowe.

Stephen Thomas, co-founder of UK-based Folkroom Records, writing for music blog ‘We Write Lists’ named "Spiral" one of "The Twelve Most Exciting Albums of 2010", remarking: "Crowe's speciality is startlingly beautiful piano-based songs that sort of make you wonder why you bother with anything else."

Spiral (2014 film)

Spiral is a 2014 Russian action film directed by Andrey Volgin.

Spiral (football)

In American football, a spiral is the continuous lateral rotation of the football following its release from the hand of a passer or foot of a punter.

Usage examples of "spiral".

Earlier, NSA had succeeded in intercepting a weak beacon transponder signal transmitted from a small spiral antenna on the tail of the Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile.

Even older than the lotus and the rose, and more profoundly woven into the very fabric of the universe, is the archetypal form of the Spiral.

As I float down the amphitheater, I hold the pieces aloft as a concrete example of the archetype of spiral, evolutionary development.

Religious proclamations, stentorian speeches by assorted politicians who could not tell a spiral galaxy from a supernova.

For in continuance of the vertical principle of the plant, the pistil and carpel represent the male aspect in the process of spiritual anastomosis, and the mobile, wind- or insect-borne pollen, in continuing the spiral principle, represents the female part.

If she took a step back she would come up hard against the wroughtiron balusters of the spiral staircase.

He drew forth a shining, spiral circle of gold upon a fine chain and brandished it like a weapon.

A buckytube is simply a buckyball with a long, winding spiral of hexagons between two half-buckyball end caps.

It was a burnished brown, layers of stiff curboille, wax-boiled leather engraved with spiral designs.

He lifted himself onto the expressway platform, made his way through the standees to the tight spiral ramp that led to the upper level, and there sat down.

Harry saw Bunsen burners, hydrometer jars, spiral tubes of glass, all leading to a metal cylinder that projected from a heavy wall bracket.

There were no wrong sounds coming from it, and its shape was right, so they had moved far away before beginning to spiral in again, searching the waters, sending out the creaking groans which would be reflected to their hypersensitive ears from any solid object.

So lay their journey the rest of the day, spiraling east and south, as if Lowth had chosen this place to make a stand.

In both traditions the tree had a conic base, a spiral round the trunk, and bare branches tipped with magnoliaceous flowers.

I measured its length and breadth, then the length of a metatarsal, and jotted the figures onto a form in the disaster victim packet, and onto a page in a spiral pad.