Green’s Dictionary of Slang

screwed adj.

1. drunk; occas. of drugs (see cite 2007).

[UK]R. Barham ‘Witches’ Frolic’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1840) 164: Alone it stood, while its fellows lay strew’d, / Like a four-bottle man in a company ‘screw’d,’ / Not firm on his legs.
[UK]Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1995) 408: Divers kind-hearted boys [...] in their simple language, bade her to be of good cheer, for she was ‘only a little screwed’.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) I 85: By Jove, you must have been screwed!
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Apr. 47/1: Why is a Pench-Kuss like a man given to drink? Because he is constantly screwed?
[Ind]Bombay Gaz. 27 Dec. 7/3: The night was pitch dark; and the two gentlemen, pretty well screwed, as the slang goes. walked into the wrong gharries—the civilian into the Major's and the Major into the civilian’s.
[Ind]Hills & Plains I 108: Thoroughly ‘screwed’ as young Lound [...] was, the night Budlee, junior, won eight hundred rupees of him at écarté.
[US]W. Cheadle Journal (1931) 3 Dec. 266: Afterwards went to the ‘Fashion’ where Toby got very screwed.
[UK]J. Diprose London Life 44: I’m blessed if my lord ain’t screwed already.
[Ind]H. Hartigan Stray Leaves (1st ser.) 101: [H]e was wofully screwed, and just got off in time to escape being sent to the clink.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Nov. 12/1: Careful actors get their ‘screw,’ negligent ones get ‘screwed’ .
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 352: By that time the claret had gone round prety often; and without being screwed, we’d all had our tongues loosened a bit.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) II 352: We had more wine, and then we all were pretty well screwed.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 10 May 6/2: The artiste is in receipt of a large salary [...] and it would seem as though the abundant ‘screw’ had tempted her to become ‘screwed’.
[UK]Kipling ‘Last Term’ Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 276: King must ha’ been as screwed as an owl when he wrote it out.
[UK]Punch 11 Apr. 258/4: First Convivial Party. I rec’lleckpictcherin Punsh where chap d’cided whether he wash shcrew’d or no if he could pronounsh wordsh ‘Bri’sh Conshtoosh’un’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 9 Oct. 1/1: Two rakish solicitors of Perth are, when screwed, no connoisseurs of champagne.
[US]C.L. Cullen Eddy 75: Got a bit screwed at the club.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 339: You never saw him anyway screwed but still and for all that she would not like him for a father.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Coonardoo 305: He was well-screwed and in great form.
[Aus](con. WWI) L. Mann Flesh in Armour 167: Rodwell was screwed [...] you could tell best when a man was drunk whether he was a gentleman.
[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 338: Drunk; jarred; [...] spiflicated; screwed; tight.
[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘Now Die In It’ I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 54: The screwed shamus.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U.
[UK]R. Milward Apples (2023) 30: The Virgin looked fuckin screwed to me.

2. in senses of screw v. (2b)

(a) (also screwed over, scrod) cheated, deceived.

[UK]Egan Life of an Actor 271: ‘Why,’ replied Mug-Cutter, ‘those angels were screwed so tight by the manager of Scanty Corner, they were compelled to leave him’.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 43: I’ve been punched, kicked, screwed, defrauded, knocked down.
[US]Kerouac letter 18 June in Charters II (1999) 208: He SHOULD be yr agent or you’ll be screwed on subsidiary rights later on.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 3: screwed – to get the worst end of a deal, to be taken advantage of.
[US]Maledicta III:1+2 55: Males in particular [...] who have been denied promotion, given low grades, received inadequate pay rises, been fired, jilted [...] etc. commonly relate that they have been screwed, fucked (royally), diddled, butt-fucked, fucked over and so on.
[US]J. Doyle College Sl. Dict. 🌐 scrod [MIT] to have been screwed over.
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 41: Everybody’s pedlin’ their ass in this town [...] We’re all gettin’ screwed.
[US]Da Bomb 🌐 25: Screwed: [...] 3. Put in a bad position. You got screwed on that paper.
[Aus]C. Hammer Silver [ebook] ‘How did the workers fare?’ ‘Got screwed, as usual’.
[UK]M. Herron Joe Country [ebook] I just got screwed. Does that make me a member of your club?

(b) in trouble.

[UK]Sporting Times 8 Feb. 3/1: Now Victor and I have quarrelled as to which gets the more hopelessly screwed in France, the solider boy who draws a good number, or the one that picks a stumer.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 58: screwed, p.p. used as adj. In phrase ‘to get screwed.’ 1. Deceived. 2. ‘Flunked’ in recitation or examination.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 16: It was a cinch we were screwed.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 123: You’re screwed right there. It’s eight years for selling this stuff.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 197: You’re screwed — there’s nothing to do.
[US]A. Maupin Tales of the City (1984) 12: If you can’t deal with your own sexuality, hon, you’re gonna get screwed but good in this town.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 199: I would have to make a computer check of all births on those dates, which might prove difficult and futile; for if Jane and Fat Dog were born outside L.A. County, I was screwed.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 54: ‘So I’m screwed,’ Chemo said.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 108: I saw in the papers where the weatherman said there’d be rain early tomorrow. If he’s right we’ll be screwed.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 97: Somebody recognizes my face, we’re screwed.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 1 Jan. 5: I’m screwed if I do, buggered if I don’t.
[Scot]V. McDermid Out of Bounds (2017) 76: ‘Accessing his adoption records won’t affect his medical state.’ ‘So, I’m screwed?’.

3. (Aus./US, also screwed out) worn out with hard work.

[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘In the Droving Days’ Man from Snowy River (1902) 91: I noticed the poor old grey, / Weary and battered and screwed, of course.
[US]C. Bukowski Erections, Ejaculations etc. 113: I was done ahead of time – baked, fucked, screwed-out, nothing left.

In phrases

half-screwed (adj.)


[Ire]C.J. Lever Harry Lorrequer 19: Even he, it is said, never ventured on such an approximation to intimacy, until he was [...] ‘half screwed’.
[UK]F. Smedley Lewis Arundel 336: He was more than half screwed when he left the dinner-table.
screwed, blued and tattooed (adj.) (also screwed, blewed and tattooed; stewed, screwed and tattooed) [screw v. (2b) + ? blewed, robbed + SE tattooed, to be repeatedly struck]

1. (US) comprehensively defeated; suffering very great harm.

[US]T. Williams Camino Real Block Sixteen: Had for a button! Stewed, screwed, and tattooed on the Camino Real!
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Peacock Valhalla 232: They were, as Poke put it, ‘screwed, blued, and tattooed’.
[US]T.I. Rubin In the Life 6: I’ve been laid, relaid, and parlayed; screwed, blewed, and tattooed.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 116: You try to do the right thing and you get screwed, blued and tatooed.
[US]J.G. Dunne Red, White and Blue 374: I was screwed, blued and tattooed. You know it, Wanchai?
[UK]W. Boyd Brazzaville Beach 302: A phrase came into my head that John had learned in America: screwed, blued and tattooed. Yes, I thought, that’s what's happened to me, I’ve been screwed, blued and tattooed .
[US]T. Peeler Dixon Avenue 74: ‘You’re screwed, blued and tattooed.’ You are really out of luck.
[US]C. Dillon Mirage 259: We had better make damned sure we don’t get caught or we are screwed, blued and tattooed my man.

2. (also screwed and tattooed) an excl. of delight.

[UK](con. 1940s) D. MacCuish Do Not Go Gentle (1962) 260: The Army — I’ll be screwed and tatooed!
screwed up (adj.) [abbr. phr. screwed up in a corner]

1. in a mess, out of order, malfunctioning.

‘Jack the Ripper’ ed. note to Nov. letter in Evans & Skinner Jack the Ripper (2001) 253: [This letter's text and an illustration furnish what the writer calls a physical ‘description of me’; in the margin, at right angles to the description and illustration, is written the following:] this got screw up last time.
[UK]E.W. Hornung Black Mask (1992) 205: An upstairs door found screwed up [...] thief gone and jewels with him.
[US]Goodman & Kolodin Kingdom of Swing 96: [T]he management of the band was not too efficient [. . .] and the thing got all screwed up eventually.
C.R. Bond 20 Jan. in Flying Tiger’s Diary (1984) 77: It was a completely screwed up mission.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 34: The arrangements got all screwed up.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 304: Screwed-up world without laws!
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 64: They were all caught in this whole screwed-up period of testing and rejecting authority.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 39: The traffic’s pretty well screwed up here.
[US]D. Hecht Skull Session 463: Maybe the lines were screwed up in some way.
Ludacris ‘Screwed Up’ 🎵 Fuck you! Fuck you! I’m screwed up.

2. in serious financial difficulties.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 217/2: Screwed up (Artisans’). Without money – can’t move. More emphatically – screwed up in a corner.

3. (US) emotionally stimulated with alcohol, drunk.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 55: I guess I must ha’ [...] got screwed up, and they put me to bunk.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 208: An’ if Frank hadn’t ben screwed up with whisky he’d never a-done it.

4. neurotic, very miserable, anxious.

[UK]G. Greene Gun for Sale (1973) 1: He turned into one of the tall grey houses and climbed the stairs, a sour bitter screwed-up figure.
[US]I. Shulman Cry Tough! 18: Hounding them [...] until they were both nuts with worry and so screwed up that they couldn’t think straight with watching each other.
[US]E. Dundy Dud Avocado (1960) 217: I wonder how I got so screwed up?
[UK]G. Lambert Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 145: Look what happens when you go away, you get all screwed up and just sit in a hotel room listening to Bessie.
[UK](con. 1960s) Nicholson & Smith Spend, Spend, Spend (1978) 170: My belly and my mind were all screwed up.
[UK]P. Theroux London Embassy 14: He’s mentally screwed up, he really is.
[Scot]I. Welsh Trainspotting 274: She’s pretty mad, like, screwed-up and tense.
[US]J. Lethem Fortress of Solitude 427: You’re just grateful, because you looked so screwed up before he fixed you.
[Aus]G. Gilmore Headland [ebook] I think you’re really screwed up.

5. absurd, improbable, unlikely.

[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 65: Is there anything more screwed up than the idea of a kraut pimp?
[US](con. 1966) P. Conroy Lords of Discipline 22: He’s got one of those screwed-up Charleston first names.