Green’s Dictionary of Slang

screwball adj.

[screwball n. (1)]
(orig. US)

1. of a person, eccentric, mad, crazy.

[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 17: A screwball slugger like Beaumont.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 792: No sooner do I get rid of one screwball Jewboy who at least was decent enough to commit suicide than I get another one.
[US]E. Shepard Doom Pussy 250: I know a screwball Cranberry pilot.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 30: We had enough screwball knife men and killers to turn a riot into a blood bath.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 20: He loved her screwball wandering eye that looked like the five ball off the eight, the hard way.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 10 Feb. 22: A natural screwball herioine.

2. (also screwballed) of a thing or procedure, bizarre, eccentric.

[US]Pic (N.Y.) Mar. 7: Nothing disgusts players of gut-bucket, screwball, and whacky music so much as the Schmaltz or sweet type played by a ‘Long-Underwear gang’.
[US]F. Brown Dead Ringer 24: One little word that took it out of the plane of the ordinary and made it screwball.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 197: You must have known something was screwballed when I didn’t haul off on you right away.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 34: When you’re sore enough you’ll do some screwball things.
[US]F. Elli Riot (1967) 139: I’ve been in this zoo over four years already [...] after getting roped in on this screwball deal I’ll probably be here four more.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 117: That screwball stuff about ‘Balogna’ and ‘baloney’ is for the birds.
[US]W. Wharton Midnight Clear 81: That’s Shutzer’s screwball game of ‘dictionary,’ only without a dictionary.
[US]L. Rodríguez Always Running (1996) 176: We suffered through a number of tumbling acts and screwball routines.
[UK]Guardian Guide 15–21 May 15: A tribute to the screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s.
[UK]Observer Screen 16 Jan. 9: Screwball ideas and passions could be indulged.
Morn. Star (Vernon, BC) 9 May 58/3: A screwball sitcom.
[UK]Oldie Jan. 67/1: Brigit [sic] Kendall’s Forum brings together ‘interesting minds’ with some screwball ideas.