View synonyms for screw


[ skroo ]


  1. a metal fastener having a tapered shank with a helical thread, and topped with a slotted head, driven into wood or the like by rotating, especially by means of a screwdriver.
  2. a threaded cylindrical pin or rod with a head at one end, engaging a threaded hole and used either as a fastener or as a simple machine for applying power, as in a clamp, jack, etc. Compare bolt 1( def 3 ).
  3. British. a tapped or threaded hole.
  4. something having a spiral form.
  5. Usually screws. physical or mental coercion:

    The terrified debtor soon felt the gangster's screws.

  6. a single turn of a screw.
  7. a twist, turn, or twisting movement.
  8. Chiefly British.
    1. a little salt, sugar, tobacco, etc., carried in a twist of paper.
    2. Slang. a mean, old, or worn-out horse; a horse from which one can obtain no further service.
    3. Slang. a friend or employer from whom one can obtain no more money.
    4. Slang. a miser.
  9. British Informal. salary; wages:

    It's not my dream job, but the screw's decent enough.

  10. Slang. a prison guard.
  11. Slang: Vulgar.
    1. a person viewed as a sexual partner.

verb (used with object)

  1. to fasten, tighten, force, press, stretch tight, etc., by or as if by means of a screw or device operated by a screw or helical threads.
  2. to operate or adjust by a screw, as a press.
  3. to attach with a screw or screws:

    to screw a bracket to a wall.

  4. to insert, fasten, undo, or work (a screw, bolt, nut, bottle top with a helical thread, etc.) by turning.
  5. to contort as by twisting; distort (often followed by up ):

    Dad screwed his face into a grimace of disgust.

  6. to cause to become sufficiently strong or intense (usually followed by up ):

    I screwed up my courage to ask for a raise.

  7. to coerce or threaten.
  8. to extract or extort.

    Synonyms: squeeze, exact, force, wrest, wring

  9. to force (a seller) to lower a price (often followed by down ).
  10. Slang. to cheat or take advantage of (someone).
  11. Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse with.

verb (used without object)

  1. to turn as or like a screw.
  2. to be adapted for being connected, taken apart, opened, or closed by means of a screw or screws or parts with helical threads (usually followed by on, together, or off ):

    This top screws on easily.

  3. to turn or move with a twisting or rotating motion.
  4. to practice extortion.
  5. Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse.

verb phrase

  1. Slang.
    1. to waste time in foolish or frivolous activity:

      If you'd stop screwing around we could get this job done.

    2. Vulgar. to engage in promiscuous sex.
  2. Slang.
    1. to ruin through bungling or stupidity:

      Somehow the engineers screwed up the entire construction project.

    2. to make a botch of something; blunder:

      Sorry, I guess I screwed up.

    3. to make confused, anxious, or neurotic:

      Losing your job can really screw you up.

  3. Slang.
    1. to do nothing; loaf.
    2. to leave; go away.


/ skruː /


  1. a device used for fastening materials together, consisting of a threaded and usually tapered shank that has a slotted head by which it may be rotated so as to cut its own thread as it bores through the material
  2. Also calledscrew-bolt a threaded cylindrical rod that engages with a similarly threaded cylindrical hole; bolt
  3. a thread in a cylindrical hole corresponding with that on the bolt or screw with which it is designed to engage
  4. anything resembling a screw in shape or spiral form
  5. a twisting movement of or resembling that of a screw
  6. Also calledscrew-back billiards snooker
    1. a stroke in which the cue ball recoils or moves backward after striking the object ball, made by striking the cue ball below its centre
    2. the motion resulting from this stroke
  7. another name for propeller
  8. slang.
    a prison guard
  9. slang.
    salary, wages, or earnings
  10. a small amount of salt, tobacco, etc, in a twist of paper
  11. slang.
    a person who is mean with money
  12. slang.
    an old, unsound, or worthless horse
  13. slang.
    often plural force or compulsion (esp in the phrase put the screws on )
  14. slang.
    sexual intercourse
  15. have a screw loose informal.
    to be insane
  16. turn the screw or tighten the screw slang.
    to increase the pressure


  1. tr to rotate (a screw or bolt) so as to drive it into or draw it out of a material
  2. tr to cut a screw thread in (a rod or hole) with a tap or die or on a lathe
  3. to turn or cause to turn in the manner of a screw
  4. tr to attach or fasten with a screw or screws
  5. informal.
    tr to take advantage of; cheat
  6. troften foll byup to distort or contort

    he screwed his face into a scowl

  7. Alsoscrew back to impart a screw to (a ball)
  8. tr, often foll by from or out of to coerce or force out of; extort
  9. slang.
    to have sexual intercourse (with)
  10. slang.
    tr to burgle
  11. have one's head screwed on or have one's head screwed on the right way informal.
    to be wise or sensible
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The use of this otherwise utilitarian word in a sexual sense, though recorded in an 18th century slang dictionary, does not appear to have really taken off until well into the 20th. Although a classic example of the anatomical metaphor for the sex act seen from the male point of view, it can be used as a transitive verb by women, which suggests that the metaphor is all but dead
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Derived Forms

  • ˈscrewer, noun
  • ˈscrewˌlike, adjective
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Other Words From

  • screwa·ble adjective
  • screwer noun
  • screwless adjective
  • screwlike adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of screw1

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English noun scrwe, screw(e); compare Middle French escro(ue) “nut,” Middle Dutch schrûve, Middle High German schrûbe “screw”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of screw1

C15: from French escroe, from Medieval Latin scrōfa screw, from Latin: sow, presumably because the thread of the screw is like the spiral of the sow's tail
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. have a screw loose, Slang. to be eccentric or neurotic; have crazy ideas:

    You must have a screw loose to keep so many cats.

  2. put the screws on, to compel by exerting pressure on; use coercion on; force:

    They kept putting the screws on him for more money.

  3. have one’s head screwed on right/straight. head ( def 67 ).

More idioms and phrases containing screw

  • have a screw loose
  • pluck (screw) up one's courage
  • tighten the screws
  • turn up the heat (put the screws on)
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Example Sentences

The scariest part about this process isn’t the sharp tools or the tiny screws or the moths flying around your late-night construction scene—it’s making sure it all actually works.

A wall-mount screw kit is included for an easy and simple wall hanging construction.

Simply assemble the legs with a few screws and get working in minutes.

Crucially, the implied “turn of the screw” in James’s novel pivots around the question of whether the ghosts are real or not.

From Vox

There’s a removable base that screws on and off with a single flat-blade screw.

You want less concentration in banking—at least the type that will screw the little guy and imperil the economy?

The Internet cool kids are rallying against Taylor Swift after her bold screw-you to Spotify.

Then they sent me to psychologists and it was like “screw his head on straight.”

In all honesty she may be handling it better, in terms of not letting it affect her as a person or screw up her life.

The company bargained him down to $65 a screw—less than half of what they usually cost.

The powdered stone was removed from the hole by giving a screw form to the stem of the bit.

"I did n't fly off the handle," said the screw, twirling huskily at the end of the screw-shaft.

At the usual hour that night the employés of Stickle and Screw left work and took their several ways home ward.

The propeller to be worked by this novel engine was of course his long-idle screw.

An article in 'The Times' gives in strong contrast the relative value of screw and paddle-wheels as propellers.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




screighscrew around