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screwball

[skroo-bawl]
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noun
  1. Slang. an eccentric or whimsically eccentric person; a nut.
  2. Baseball. a pitched ball that curves toward the side of the plate from which it was thrown.
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adjective
  1. Slang. eccentric or whimsically eccentric: What a screwball idea!
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Origin of screwball

1865–70; 1935–40 for def 2; screw + ball1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for screwball

kook, goof, bonehead, fanatic, eccentric, nut, crackpot, character, blockhead, dingbat, dumbbell, bozo, saphead, lunkhead, numbskull

Examples from the Web for screwball

Contemporary Examples of screwball

Historical Examples of screwball

  • Whatever came up—a screwball flying saucer or a berserk psycho waving a gun.

    Twelve Times Zero

    Howard Carleton Browne

  • "This is what I got out of checking all the screwball factories I could reach personal and by mail," Clocker said.

    At the Post

    Horace Leonard Gold


British Dictionary definitions for screwball

screwball

noun
  1. an odd or eccentric person
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adjective
  1. odd; zany; eccentric
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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 screwball

n.

"eccentric person," 1933, U.S. slang, earlier as a type of erratic baseball pitch (1928), from a still earlier name for a type of delivery in cricket (1866), from screw (n.) + ball (n.1). Screwball comedy is attested from 1938, in reference to Carole Lombard.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper