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.
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 bolt1 (def. 3).
British. a tapped or threaded hole.
something having a spiral form.
Usually screws. physical or mental coercion: The terrified debtor soon felt the gangster's screws.
a single turn of a screw.
a twist, turn, or twisting movement.
a little salt, sugar, tobacco, etc., carried in a twist of paper.
Slang. a mean, old, or worn-out horse; a horse from which one can obtain no further service.
Slang. a friend or employer from whom one can obtain no more money.
Slang. a miser.
Slang. a prison guard.
an act of sexual intercourse.
a person viewed as a sexual partner.
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.
to operate or adjust by a screw, as a press.
to attach with a screw or screws: to screw a bracket to a wall.
to insert, fasten, undo, or work (a screw, bolt, nut, bottle top with a helical thread, etc.) by turning.
to contort as by twisting; distort (often followed by up): Dad screwed his face into a grimace of disgust.
to cause to become sufficiently strong or intense (usually followed by up): I screwed up my courage to ask for a raise.
to coerce or threaten.
to extract or extort.
to force (a seller) to lower a price (often followed by down).
Slang. to cheat or take advantage of (someone).
Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse with.
to turn as or like a screw.
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.
to turn or move with a twisting or rotating motion.
to practice extortion.
Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse.
screw around, Slang.
to waste time in foolish or frivolous activity: If you'd stop screwing around we could get this job done.
Vulgar. to engage in promiscuous sex.
screw off, Slang.
to do nothing; loaf.
to leave; go away.
screw up, Slang.
to ruin through bungling or stupidity: Somehow the engineers screwed up the entire construction project.
to make a botch of something; blunder: Sorry, I guess I screwed up.
to make confused, anxious, or neurotic: Losing your job can really screw you up.
Idioms about screw
have a screw loose, Slang. to be eccentric or neurotic; have crazy ideas: You must have a screw loose to keep so many cats.
have one’s head screwed on right/straight. head (def. 67).
put the screws on, to compel by exerting pressure on; use coercion on; force: They kept putting the screws on him for more money.
- screw·a·ble, adjective
- screwer, noun
- screwless, adjective
- screwlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use screw in a sentence
My surgeon told me my bones were so soft he could barely install the screws.
A politician or pundit screws up on one, and is made fun of on the other.
In an interview with CIR, he admitted to making scores of copies of surgical screws for Spinal Solutions.
She begged hospital staff to let her keep the rods and screws.
He said he engraved only a few screws, however, which he called prototypes.
He was voluble in his declarations that they would “put the screws” to Ollie on the charge of perjury.The Bondboy | George W. (George Washington) Ogden
The treasure consisted in this case of a quantity of bent and rusty nails of all sizes, and a few screws and nuts.The Box-Car Children | Gertrude Chandler Warner
The humidity of the earth had rusted the screws, and it was not without some difficulty that the coffin was opened.Camille (La Dame aux Camilias) | Alexandre Dumas, fils
The heads of these screws are shown in the plate, between the springs which press the plate-holder against its bed.Photographs of Nebul and Clusters | James Edward Keeler
In practice it is seldom necessary to touch the adjusting screws of the mirrors themselves.Photographs of Nebul and Clusters | James Edward Keeler
British Dictionary definitions for screw
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
Also called: screw-bolt a threaded cylindrical rod that engages with a similarly threaded cylindrical hole; bolt
a thread in a cylindrical hole corresponding with that on the bolt or screw with which it is designed to engage
anything resembling a screw in shape or spiral form
a twisting movement of or resembling that of a screw
Also called: screw-back billiards snooker
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
the motion resulting from this stroke
another name for propeller (def. 1)
slang a prison guard
British slang salary, wages, or earnings
British a small amount of salt, tobacco, etc, in a twist of paper
slang a person who is mean with money
slang an old, unsound, or worthless horse
(often plural) slang force or compulsion (esp in the phrase put the screws on)
slang sexual intercourse
have a screw loose informal to be insane
turn the screw or tighten the screw slang to increase the pressure
(tr) to rotate (a screw or bolt) so as to drive it into or draw it out of a material
(tr) to cut a screw thread in (a rod or hole) with a tap or die or on a lathe
to turn or cause to turn in the manner of a screw
(tr) to attach or fasten with a screw or screws
(tr) informal to take advantage of; cheat
(tr often foll by up) to distort or contort: he screwed his face into a scowl
Also: screw back to impart a screw to (a ball)
(tr, often foll by from or out of) to coerce or force out of; extort
slang to have sexual intercourse (with)
(tr) slang to burgle
have one's head screwed on or have one's head screwed on the right way informal to be wise or sensible
- See also screw up
- screwer, noun
- screwlike, adjective
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with 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
- 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.