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The dictionary says that a “turnaround” is “an abrupt or unexpected change, esp. one that results in a more favorable situation”. What would be the word for “an abrupt or unexpected change” which is NOT favourable and worsens the situation?

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"weekday"... :-( – Oddthinking Jan 17 '11 at 5:31
@Oddthinking: ohh, so true indeed. – Arnold Jan 19 '11 at 4:06
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The word could be reversal. Here are links to OED Online and Merriam Webster.

Many Internet firms have suffered a painful reversal of fortune.

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Could go either way with a modifier - "The team saw a miraculous reversal at the end of the season saving them from relegation" – HorusKol Jan 17 '11 at 12:12
Yes, thank you, it sounds like the best option for what I’ve got. – Arnold Jan 19 '11 at 4:07

I cannot think of a word but two good expressions would be:

  • take a turn for the worse
  • take a nosedive
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+1 for "turn for the worse." – Jay Jan 17 '11 at 6:13
+1, ibid ...... – smirkingman Jan 17 '11 at 15:09
I vote for "nosedive." – Tom Au Nov 9 '12 at 2:15
nosedive++ .... – satyrwilder Aug 13 '13 at 9:59

Don't hold me to this but 'upset' as a verb can mean overtun and to become overturned. Because of the way we use it day to day. I feel like it's taken on a mainly pejorative sense.

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"Turnarounds" are rarely unexpected, in the context of economics, or the fortunes of people or individual companies. More often, it has the sense of "self-rescue".

I like Jimi Oke's "take a turn for the worse".

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I would suggest calling it "a disaster."

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