Share this entry

screwball Line breaks: screw|ball
Pronunciation: /ˈskruːbɔːl/
chiefly North American

Definition of screwball in English:


1 Baseball A ball pitched with reverse spin as compared to a curve ball.
Example sentences
  • You'll learn the rules of offense and defense, and all about fastballs, curveballs, knuckleballs and screwballs.
  • The batters had to wait, watch for the spin and break of the screwball.
  • ‘The third strike on every one of them,’ Hubbell once recalled, ‘was a screwball.’
2 informal A crazy or eccentric person: she was dating a real screwball
More example sentences
  • Even scarier is the prospect of this party coming to anything with the screwballs they have in their ranks.
  • By the end of that campaign, he still got 20% of the vote, but apparently some people just like a screwball.
  • ‘You guys are a bunch of screwballs!’ the girl said and stomped out of the shop.


informal Back to top  
1Crazy; absurd: what possessed you to ask a screwball question like that?
More example sentences
  • A Service Pilot in one of my flights north had reported to Operations that I was a crazy, screwball pilot and that he was scared to fly along side me.
  • Usually this happens when they say something in a very haughty tone that doesn't make any sense, as though I should have anticipated their screwball question.
  • However, the question remains: with all these goofy and screwball side effects, how in the heck did it slip by the radar of the FDA?
1.1Relating to or denoting a style of fast-moving comedy film involving eccentric characters or ridiculous situations: a screwball comedy in which two different couples find themselves sharing a house
More example sentences
  • Whether it's action films or screwball comedies, most Hollywood movies focus on beautiful young characters.
  • An opportunity to create a classic, timeless satire was squandered by going for a cheap attempt to soften the film into a screwball comedy.
  • The actor gets to play two characters in this outrageous little comedy, a sort of screwball gangster film.



sense 1 of the noun.
Example sentences
  • He used unorthodox moves to shake things up, like pinch-hitting left-handed hitting John Milner against southpaw screwballer Tug McGraw.

Words that rhyme with screwball


Definition of screwball in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fôrˈtisəˌmō
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly