screwup

or screw-up

[ skroo-uhp ]
/ ˈskruˌʌp /

noun Slang.

a mistake or blunder: The package was delayed through an addressing screwup.
a habitual blunderer.

Nearby words

  1. screwed,
  2. screwed up,
  3. screwhead,
  4. screwpine,
  5. screwplate,
  6. screwworm,
  7. screwworm fly,
  8. screwy,
  9. scriabin,
  10. scribble

Origin of screwup

1955–60; Americanism; noun use of verb phrase screw up

Origin of screw

1375–1425; late Middle English scrwe, screw(e) (noun); compare Middle French escro(ue) nut, Middle Dutch schrûve, Middle High German schrûbe screw

Related formsscrew·a·ble, adjectivescrew·er, nounscrew·less, adjectivescrew·like, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for screw up

screw up

verb (tr, adverb)

to twist out of shape or distort
to summon up or call uponto screw up one's courage
(also intr) informal to mishandle or make a mess (of)
(often passive) informal to cause to become very anxious, confused, or nervoushe is really screwed up about his exams

noun screw-up

slang something mishandled or done badly

screw

/ (skruː) /

noun

verb

See also screw up

Derived Formsscrewer, nounscrewlike, adjective

Word Origin for screw

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

usage

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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for screw up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with screw up

screw up

1

Muster or summon up; see pluck up one's courage.

2

Make a mess of an undertaking; also, make a mistake, as in I really screwed up this report, or She said she was sorry, admitting that she had screwed up. Some authorities believe this usage is a euphemism for fuck up. [Slang; c. 1940]

3

Injure, damage, as in I screwed up my back lifting all those heavy books. [Slang]

4

Make neurotic or anxious, as in Her family really screwed her up, but her therapist has helped her a lot. [Slang; mid-1900s]

screw

In addition to the idioms beginning with screw

  • screw around
  • screw loose
  • screw someone out of
  • screw up
  • screw up one's courage
  • screw you

also see:

  • have a screw loose
  • pluck (screw) up one's courage
  • tighten the screws
  • turn up the heat (put the screws on)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.