Death Spiral Meaning

(idiomatic, by extension) The situation or course of action of one who is on a path toward some sort of inevitable catastrophic failure.

Example: 1999 July 21, Mike Allen with Matthew L. Wald, "Maneuver by Kennedy's Plane Suggests He Was Disoriented," New York Times (retrieved 14 Sep. 2011):
  â€œWe call this getting yourself in a square corner, when you run out of ideas and experience at the same time,” said Mr. Barr, a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War. “ . . . Even for a good pilot, that could produce a death spiral.”
2002, Carole Shulman, The Complete Book of Figure Skating, ISBN 9780736035484, p. 194:
  There are four types of death spirals, named for the edge on which the lady is skating — forward outside, forward inside, back outside, or back inside.
1992 April 13, Anastasia Toufexis et al., Did His Doctor Love Him to Death?," Time:
  But what followed for Lozano, his grieving family claims, was a death spiral into infantilism and madness.
2010 April 28, Malcolm Brabrant, "Greece's ‘death spiral’," BBC News (retrieved 14 Sep. 2011):
  The markets are in meltdown, intensifying the downward pirouette of what the international financier George Soros has called "Greece's death spiral".