- 1A short, slender, sharp-pointed metal pin with a raised helical thread running around it and a slotted head, used to join things together by being rotated so that it pierces wood or other material and is held tightly in place.More example sentences
- The logs, the wood flooring, the cabinets, all of the materials down to the nails and screws which hold it together, were donated or purchased with donated funds.
- Some fractures require surgery, and the use of metal screws, wires, pins or plates to hold the broken pieces of bone together.
- Builders will appreciate the fact that plastic lumber can hold nails and screws better than wood.
- 1.1A cylinder with a helical ridge or thread running around the outside (a male screw) that can be turned to seal an opening, apply pressure, adjust position, etc., especially one fitting into a corresponding internally grooved or threaded piece (a female screw).More example sentences
- It is secured with special spring-loaded screws for uniform hold-down pressure.
- The inner diameters of the seals were adapted to the diameters of the basal parts of root systems and adjusted by screws.
- Adjust the syrup screw on the fountain head to make the drink stronger to suit your taste.
- 1.3 (also screw propeller) A ship’s or aircraft’s propeller (considered as acting like a screw in moving through water or air).More example sentences
- But steamships were improving as the screw propeller replaced the paddle wheel and iron replaced wood.
- The subsequent development of the screw propeller, concealed beneath the surface of the water, yielded greater maneuverability as well as greater protection.
- In 1845, the British Admiralty sponsored a demonstration to determine which was superior, the paddle wheel or screw propeller; the latter clearly won.
- 2.1British Billiards another term for draw.
- 2.2British A small twisted-up piece of paper, used as a container for a substance such as salt or tobacco.More example sentences
- Two labourers, flushed with beer and temporarily lordly, share a screw of tobacco in their clay pipes.
- 3 • informal A prisoner’s derogatory term for a prison guard or warden.More example sentences
- One day the screws opened the solitary confinement cell and a brown paper bag was thrust inside.
- Marijuana was sort of a sedative sort of drug as far as the screws and prison authorities were concerned.
- The abiding impression left by the book is the way the prison system reduces prisoners and screws to animals.
verbBack to top
- 1 [with object] Fasten or tighten with a screw or screws: screw the hinge to your new doorMore example sentences
- Rather than being screwed on they were riveted.
- I undress and hang my orange attire upon a steel hanger that is securely screwed into the wall.
- The control panel earth wire will need to be securely screwed to the chassis of the vehicle.
- 1.1Rotate (something) so as to fit it into or on to a surface or object by means of a spiral thread: Philip screwed the top on the flaskMore example sentences
tighten, turn, twist, wind
- Put Teflon tape in a clockwise direction as you are looking at the threads and screw it in.
- Are you upset that he occasionally forgets to screw the top back on the toothpaste tube?
- Joe screwed the top back on the canteen, and squeezed, on his back, under the wagon bed.
- 1.2 [no object] (Of an object) be attached or removed by being rotated in this way: a connector that screws on to the gas cylinderMore example sentences
- The resulting rack is suspended with a rope through a couple of pulleys, which screw into joists in the ceiling.
- The shower head screws onto the shower arm stub out.
- The nozzle closure screws over the base of the nozzle plate.
- 2 [with object] (usually be screwed) • informal Cheat or swindle (someone), especially by charging them too much for something: if you do what they tell you, you’re screwed we ended up getting more money than what they were trying to screw us forMore example sentences
- They just screw you for an extra £8 per month because they can!
- Until then, though, I will only screw you out of several million dollars per person per year.
- He spouted some nostrum about how people who ‘steal’ movies were screwing him, not the studios.
- 2.1 (screw something out of) Extort or force something, especially money, from (someone) by putting them under strong pressure: your grandmother screwed cash out of him for ten yearsMore example sentences
- ‘The companies are taking advantage of the situation to screw some money out of the government,’ he admitted last week.
- Together these poster boys for corporate greed put billions of dollars in their own pockets and those of their top execs, while screwing millions out of their employees and investors.
- I suspect they may have the idea that they have more chance of screwing concessions out of us.
- 3.2 [in imperative] • informal Used to express anger or contempt: Screw him!More example sentences
- To all those people who've disparaged my Diet Coke habit over the years: screw off!
- She had made up her mind, screw what anyone else thought, she was going there and she was going to find out what her destiny was.
- Telling your supervisor to go screw and then expecting him to fix your mess also sucks.
- 4 [with object] British another term for draw ( sense 8 of the verb).
have one's head screwed on (the right way)
- • informal Have common sense.More example sentences
- It does suit some people but you must have your head screwed on and be fully aware of both the risks and rewards.
- Thankfully, the co-organiser seems to have his head screwed on, and is just getting on with it.
- Brian has his head screwed on as he wants to be a soccer manager when he grows up.
have a screw loose
- • informal Be slightly eccentric or mentally disturbed.More example sentences
- Some of my people have speculated about such things for a long time, but now it is official: it has been medically, clinically diagnosed that I have a screw loose.
- Who could not think he has a screw loose after going on about seeing the devil on the stage?
- People often say that it's harder to get out of the team that into it, but whoever believes that has a screw loose.
put the screws on
- • informal Exert strong psychological pressure on (someone) so as to intimidate them into doing something.More example sentences
- He laughed and added, ‘You put the screws on me and I'm gonna screw right out from under you ever time, that's what I'm gonna do.’
- The Duke engineering department had been putting the screws on him for a major contribution.
- The Authority's attempts to put the screws on farmers may have backfired despite having laid some alarming facts on the table during the past week.
a turn of the screw
- • informal An additional degree of pressure or hardship added to a situation that is already extremely difficult to bear.More example sentences
- Forced to return to her pitiably poor parents, she is finally forced into prostitution and each new event in her despairing life is a turn of the screw.
- His forced conversion, Antonio's final turn of the screw, makes a hilarious ending, Shylock's soul is saved.
- The answer is likely to depend on the political turn of the screw.
turn (or tighten) the screw (or screws)
- • informal Exert strong pressure on someone.More example sentences
- Governments could have chosen to ease the pressure, but successive Labor and Liberal governments instead turned the screws.
- Kiltegan were still in there, if only with an outside chance as the second half got underway but Castletown lost no time in turning the screws.
- With affluent urbanites pushing prices up, and second-homeowners turning the screw, how can young people ever afford houses of their own?
- 2 • informal Fool around.More example sentences
- I should just stop screwing around with the template, huh?
- The rest of the weekend was spent screwing around with my computer.
- I was looking forward to a nice relaxing evening of screwing around with some new software, but it was not to be.
screw someone over
- • informal Treat someone unfairly; cheat or swindle someone.More example sentences
- In studio offices, I'm certain there's always been a conspiracy to screw me over in at least three out of five categories.
- The development of new technologies always screws somebody over in the end.
- Now that I need the system, it's screwing me over.
- • informal , chiefly North American Completely mismanage or mishandle a situation: I’m sorry, Susan, I screwed upMore example sentences
- In any other situation, if an employee screws up, they get fired.
- For most of my life, I've been in situations where people expect me to screw up.
- What I love is when the accountant screws up on a simple piece of multiplication.
screw someone up
- • informal Cause someone to be emotionally or mentally disturbed: this job can really screw you upMore example sentences
- ‘Our first job is to not screw him up,’ McLaughlin said with a laugh.
- Nobody has a perfect life, and, just think, if you are screwed up in a sufficiently imaginative way, your children can always use it as creative ballast.
- The rush of emotions and the intensity of being whooshed back to the time in my life when we were together screwed me up for weeks.
screw something up
- 1Tense the muscles of one’s face or around one’s eyes, typically so as to register an emotion or because of bright light.More example sentences
- She looks down, screws up her face and peers at me.
- Margaret listens quietly to our opinions, then screws up her face, deep in thought.
- Squint your eyes, screw up your face and study the glossy frames and you'll find them fascinating.
- 2 • informal Cause something to fail or go wrong: why are you trying to screw up your life?More example sentences
- Have I done something wrong, did I screw something up?
- If you do the steps wrong, you screw it up.
- If he thinks I'm doing something wrong or if I break something or screw something up he gives me extra cleaning duties to do at closing time.
- 3Summon up one’s courage: now Stephen had to screw up his courage and confessMore example sentences
- The scene in which the host and hostess of the tavern screw their courage up before murdering Thomas Cole has been seen as an analogue to Macbeth.
- I screwed up my courage to ask him what was uppermost in my mind.
- I've been trying to screw up the courage to call you ever since.
late Middle English (as a noun): from Old French escroue 'female screw, nut', from Latin scrofa, literally 'sow', later 'screw'. The early sense of the verb was 'contort (the features), twist around' (late 16th century).