Green’s Dictionary of Slang

screw v.

1. to render drunk [i.e. screwed adj. (1)].

[UK]R. Brome Covent-Garden Weeded V i: A quart-draught of good Canarie will so screw him up.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) VI 1243: I expect it would have taken a lot of gin to have screwed her.

2. as a synon. for fuck v.

(a) to have sexual intercourse; poss. the most common example of the equation sex = violence; cit. 1833 is a double entendre.

[[UK] ‘There Was Three Birds’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) I 140: The third he went merrily in; / O never went Wimble in Timber more nimble / With so little screwing, and knocking on’t in].
[[UK]M. Stevenson Wits Paraphras’d 23: Although he screw’d with other pegs. / When you were last between my legs].
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: To Screw, to copulate with a Woman.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK] ‘The Plumber’s Ball-cock’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 24: The plumber, in her closet, now put a long waste pipe, / And thereby made it leak again, which caused her oft to wipe; / So out again, with all his main / He pull’d it, which caus’d a disaster, / Her back premises o’erflow’d, / And she cried come screw the cock in faster.
[US] in T.P. Lowry Stories the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell (1994) ) 37: I screwed a white woman the other day.
P.C. Van Busirk Diary vol. 9 9 Sept. q. in Jrnl Hist. Sexuality (2002) July 443: A classmate of mine screwed his girl twelve times and went at her a thirteenth time.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) II 351: Soon after, down they came, looking screwed, lewed, and annoyed that the bets were off.
[UK]Crissie 18: ‘I think you really ought to screw him’.
[UK]Lustful Memoirs of a Young and Passionated Girl 26: Men screw their wives — what do they do to keep from getting in the family way?
[UK] ‘O’Reilly’ in Bold (1979) 166: Who should it be but the one-eyed Reilly / [...] / Looking for the man who’d screwed his daughter.
[US]R. McAlmon ‘A Vacation’s Job’ in A Hasty Bunch 182: It has left me with a pain in the loin [...] like leaving a woman half-screwed.
[US] (ref. to late 19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 94: If you can get them to screw, get them into bed for the nookie.
[US]J.T. Farrell World I Never Made 114: My father, he screwed me when I was thirteen.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 1: There’s a charming young lady named Beaulieu / Who’s often been screwed by yours truly.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 99: All the soldiers want to screw them.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 350: Trying to screw a mot on the top of a hill.
[Can]M. Richler Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1964) 127: I dreamt I was screwing this broad.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act II: You screw the pictures, Whitaker. No good stuffing your head up with them long words.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 54: So they can get screwed in the back of some kraut Mercedes by a couple of wurst-reeking Germans.
[US]R.H. Rimmer Harrad Experiment 48: There’s plenty of girls working at the mill who’d just as soon screw as piss.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle 57: You take off your clothes and screw all day.
[Aus]‘Ricki Francis’ Kings X Hooker 26: [O]ne day he would fling it at his son ... that even he had screwed between her legs ... and such legs.
[US]J. Heller Good As Gold 13: How does it feel to be screwing gentile girls?
[Oth]D. Marechera House of Hunger (2013) [ebook] The sixth [film] was of Julia being screwed by Citre.
[Ire]J.B. Keane Bodhrán Makers 303: He’d screw a rat through a manhole cover.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 65: It was like trying to screw linguini.
[UK]D. Jarman diary 23 Sept. Smiling in Slow Motion (2000) 222: I remember him screwing in the back rooms of Heaven.
[Aus]G. Disher Crosskill [ebook] [T]hey’d screwed, she said, only she wished she’d had time to have a shower first.
[UK]A. Warner Sopranos 136: Ah got really horny when I saw the two of them screwing.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 3 6: Chopper, don’t you want to screw me?
[UK]R. Milward Apples (2023) 1: She was probably getting harassed by one of the boys she was screwing.
[UK]K. Richards Life 95: Mick had come back drunk [...] and screwed his old lady.
[US](con. 1991-94) W. Boyle City of Margins 17: ‘You were gonna let this punk screw you, weren’t you?’.

(b) (orig. US, also screw with) to cheat, to swindle, to take advantage of, to treat badly or unfairly; often as screw someone for... [note earlier screw up v. (1); cf. screw out of ; screw over ].

[UK]Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies 102: She makes them pay through the nose, and has at this time a very artful method of screwing the utmost farthing.
[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 236: I sacked four thousand pounds in Dick Martin’s notes, that he had screwed from the boys.
[UK]Comic Almanack Mar. 129: And they / Are nailed for pounds, who screw for pence all day.
[US]T. Haliburton Letter-bag of the Great Western (1873) xvi: My patron, tired of screwing the public, will screw epistles, and become king of the ‘penny-a-line’ tribe.
[UK]Thackeray Vanity Fair II 131: You’d have been screwed in gaol, Bute, if I had not kept your money.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ G’hals of N.Y. 92: One boss cheats ’em [...] then a third screws ’em down so, that if they didn’t get up at daybreak, and work till their eyes was almost a-droppin’ out o’ their pretty heads, they’d starve!
[US]Lewisburg Chron. (PA) 4 Jan. 7/3: But blacker yet the brows of those, / Who hoped our purses to unclose — / [...] / By ‘screwing’ hard, through leaky law.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 3 June 10/1: [H]ow sad It was to leave his money bags after screwing and pinching and grinding so many years to accumulate them.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Aug. Red Page/1: Then sittin’ tight w’en darncin’s ud its fling, / En kiddin’ to yerself yer jist the one – / Until some screwin’, crook son uv a gun / The cliner grabs, en’ show yer’ve ’ad a string.
[US]J. Weidman What’s In It For Me? 33: Who’re you screwing? What’s your racket now?
[US](con. 1944) J.H. Burns Gallery (1948) 299: I know she oney did it to screw me for a hundred lira more.
[US]J. Thompson Swell-Looking Babe 123: You let her screw you for your share of the dough.
[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 144: The ones we deal with won’t screw us, but the others’d sell a story like this to our audience in a minute.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 100: You never screwed me yet.
[UK]T. Lewis GBH 268: ‘I wasn’t trying to screw you, honest’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 177: That asshole in Queens had screwed him royal.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Culture 22 Aug. 2: Everyone gets screwed. The lousy thing is being screwed by people you don’t know. But we’re your friends. We do it nicely.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 3 6: I mightn’t have screwed Tanya but she screwed me.
[US]J. Stahl Happy Mutant Baby Pills 76: The man who screwed me owns a lot of companies. He’s powerful.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 22: ‘Every time I try to give someone a break they screw me’.

(c) (orig. US) to ruin, to pervert, to upset.

[US](con. 1915) ‘W.W. Windstaff’ ‘A Flier’s War’ in Longstreet Canvas Falcons (1970) 268: Later John said we had screwed our youth. I always felt our youth had screwed us, made us opaque to reality.
[US] in T. Shibutani Derelicts of Company K (1978) 296: Them cocksuckers’re always figurin’ some way to screw us.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 153: ‘But you screwed me on that last card, Angelo,’ he accused.
[US]C. Hiaasen Native Tongue 197: That what you’re saying? Somebody on the inside trying to screw with our plans?
[US] in W. Shaw Westsiders 274: Nobody knew how deep it screwed me.

(d) used as a synon./euph. for fuck v. (3), e.g. screw the government!; often as screw you!

[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 198: ‘Screw the ballistics department,’ I said.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 177: I’m a bloody billy-goat trying to screw the world, and no wonder I am, because it’s trying to do the same to me.
[US]‘Paul Merchant’ ‘Sex Gang’ in Pulling a Train’ (2012) [ebook] ‘We aren’t ready to break up the partnership yet, Deek.’ ‘Screw that noise, I said I want out and out is where I’m goin’’.
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 102: Screw him. He’s a burglar anyway.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 50: Screw my mother [...] It’s not her they’ll be hanging.
[US]C. Himes Blind Man with a Pistol (1971) 109: ‘He’s the people,’ he said defensively. ‘Screw the people!’ Coffin Ed said.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 198: Screw all this bullshit.
[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 122: Screw TV. And screw me.
[US]S. King Christine 177: ‘Screw the office!’ Buddy cried.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 322: ‘Well screw him, eh?’ he said finally.
[US]P. Cornwell Body of Evidence (1992) 344: I told her to stay here. I told her to screw the rent, that she could stay.
[UK]D. Fallowell One Hot Summer in St Petersburg 273: Oh screw all that in-Russia-it’s-always stuff.
[US]J. Ridley Everybody Smokes in Hell 42: Screw the cops. Call the papers.
[US]T. Dorsey Stingray Shuffle 268: Screw this [...] I know a trick.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 12: Screw ’em [...] Fuck’s in a name?
[SA]IOL SA News 13 Oct. 🌐 If anyone wants to say anything else, then screw them.
[Aus] A. Wrangles ‘A Forgiving Kind of Nature’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] Screw our father, his money and his messages. Screw the old men and their stories.
[US]S.M. Jones August Snow [ebook] ‘Screw you’ [...] ‘You wish’.
[US]N. Walker Cherry 21: She said the girl’s grandmother had died. I said that was too bad. She said, ‘Screw her’.
[US]I. Fitzgerald Dirtbag, Massachusetts 68: [S]crew their parents for settling for what was often a Band-Aid solution to deeper issues.

(e) lit. and fig., to hurt.

[UK]P. Terson Apprentices (1970) I iv: Leave me alone or I’ll screw you in the second half.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 200: Screw [...] (d) to deal harshly with, ‘I’ll screw the rat!’.
[US]P. Cornwell Body of Evidence (1992) 344: It’s screwed me, too, PJ. [...] I’m living Beryl’s nightmare.
[US]J. Díaz This Is How You Lose Her 5: You couldn’t think of anybody worse to screw than Magda.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Sunset’ in Broken 195: ‘If you screw me on this [...] ou e fasioti oe’.

(f) (US) to sodomize.

[US]F. Salas Tattoo the Wicked Cross (1981) 208: Never! I don’t care if every nigger in the institute screws you.
[US]Maledicta II:1+2 Summer/Winter 117: There are other, more general if less modern and correct, studies of Cockney rhyming slang, though they tend to skirt [...] me and you (‘screw’, which in England often means pay packet or wages but has come to mean, as in the US, ‘fuck’, stuff even bugger).

3. (US campus) in terms based on SE screw, to pressurize or screw n.3

(a) to subject a student to an extremely searching examination.

Our Chronicle of ’26 in Hall (1856) 405: He was a wise man, and a good man, too, / And robed himself in green whene’er he came to screw.
[US]Harvardiana III 255: Have I been screwed, yea, deaded morn and eve, / Some dozen moons of this collegiate life.
[US]A. Peirce Rebelliad 53: Who would let a tutor knave / Screw him like a Grecian slave!
[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 404: screw. To press with an excessive and unneccessarily minute examination.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 12 Oct. 3/3: A medical student [...] had been screwed very hard at his examination for admission to the faculty.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 58: screw, v. To give a hard examination.

(b) to fail a test or examination.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.

4. in senses of screw n.1 (2)

(a) to break into, to rob, orig. with a skeleton key; note var. unscrew in cit. 1846.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 264: To screw a place is to enter it by false keys.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 59: Billy’s not pluck to fake the grand duck. He’d crap his kicksies if he had to unscrew a drum, or crack a case. Billy fams the quizby’s and nunks to the smallies. An artful dodger.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 10 Mar. 3/4: His pockets, from which he extracted as fine a set of screwing apparatus as need be, all polished as bright as silver.
[UK]Liverpool Mercury 14 Jan. 38/2: The men that were with me went out at night screwing [i.e. stealing].
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 24: The coves had screwed the gig of the jug, when Jack flashed the darkey into it, and found it planted full of coppers. [...] The thieves had opened the door of a bank with false keys, and when they looked in with the aid of a dark lantern, they found the place filled with officers.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 13/1: He had ‘pinched’ Jack once, for attempting to ‘screw’ a drum.
[Aus]Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.) 27 May 2/3: The landlord [...] found that the premises had been entered by the operation of ‘screwing’ a window — as it is termed in the thieves slang.
[UK] ‘Autobiog. of a Thief’ in Macmillan’s Mag. (London) XL 503: We went and screwed (broke into) his place, and got thirty-two quid, and a toy and tackle which he had brought on the crook.
[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 182: ‘Wot sort o’ job’s this?’ ‘Why a bust — unless we can screw it.’ This meant a breaking-in, with a possibility of a quieter entrance by means of keys.
[Aus]W.S. Walker In the Blood 143: To ‘open tank’ I yearn, ‘screw in’ or ‘make a turn.’.
[UK]N. Lucas London and its Criminals 4: One burglar has [...] an irresistible impulse to spoil all the food in the larder of any house he is ‘screwing’.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 126: If I screw the place and she comes to you with oxo nobody can call you a ponce.
[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks 9: Screwing a whack: Breaking into a building.
[UK]B. Hill Boss of Britain’s Underworld 7: There was not a peter in Great Britain we could not screw.
[UK] ‘Screwsman’s Lament’ in Encounter n.d. in Norman Norman’s London (1969) 69: And when we’re all below, in that there place called Hell, / You can bet you bottom dollar, we’ll screw Satan’s drum as well!
[UK]J.R. Ackerley We Think The World Of You (1971) 127: I put down a deposit on ’er, and then I screwed the first ’ouse to get the rest.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 60: He’s been screwin’ again, ’course he has.
[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 51: I was draggin’ a fella out of the bullring one day — for screwin’ a car, y’see.
[Scot]I. Welsh Trainspotting 286: That’s how ah like tae go screwin fuckin shoaps n hooses.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 13: There’s a postie a wanner check out anyway, see if it’s screwable.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 109: Getting wasted, screwin hooses, trying tae screw lassies.

(b) to lock, e.g. a door, a moneybox.

[UK]Worcester Herald 26 Dec. 4/3: A screwing, a locking up; unscrewing, unlocking.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 85/1: All being ‘square’, she flew over onto the counter and ‘grannied’ for the ‘slide’, but that was no ‘bottle’, it was ‘screwed’. [Ibid.] 93/1: After ‘planting’ Joe’s lot in its receptacle, and ‘screwing’ the door, we had several more rounds of ‘lush’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 19 Mar. 12/3: Them what’s used to gaols has measures, / All the same for evermore; / Since they landed our ancestors / Screwed In chains, upon our shore.

(c) to escape by unlocking a door.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 16 Nov. 2/3: One of the two Connecticut ‘crossmen’ [...] made the Tombs ‘screw’ which was to liberate the prisoners by unlocking the cells and giving [them] a chance to rush out on the corridor and gag the keepers.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 113: He would never admit that we could screw (key) out of his jail.

(d) (Aus. Und.) to sentence; to imprison.

[Aus]Lithgow Mercury (NSW) 6 Jan. 2/4: A hotel thief who had offered to ‘duck the nut’ (plead guilty) to stealing charges had a ‘spanner’ thrown into his activities when Mr. K.M. Dash, S.M., ignored his plea of leniency and ‘screwed’ him down to three months’ imprisonment.

5. to act in a miserly manner [screw n.1 (3c)].

[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 10 Sept. n.p.: We advise [them] to keep their money for a better purpose [...] these are ‘screwing times’ .
[UK]Thackeray Newcomes II 60: Did you ever hear of me screwing? No, I spend my money like a man.
[UK]‘George Eliot’ Felix Holt I 257: A screwing fellow, by what I understand – a domineering fellow – who would expect men to do as he liked without paying them for it.
[UK]A. Christie Secret Adversary (1955) 10: I’ve screwed and saved and pinched!

6. in the context of movement.

(a) (US) to run off, to leave; also as imper. screw, go away.

[US]Ade Artie (1963) 20: You screw right away from here. We do n’t like your style.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 88: ‘The bookie looks fer the Wise Cracker an’ somebody tells him he'd screwed’.
Winnipeg Trib. (Manitoba) 9 Dec. 19/1: ‘Screw, or ‘Blow’ — To leave hurriedly.
[US]E. Booth Stealing Through Life 66: Mope! Screw!
[UK]D. Ahearn Confessions of a Gunman 225: ‘Screw, kid,’ I said to my Jew friend. He screwed.
[US]J.H. O’Hara Pal Joey 18: I screw and go around the corner to have a cup of coffee.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 211: Now screw, both of you.
[US]J.P. Donleavy Ginger Man (1958) 12: You’ll have to take your English wife and English kids and screw back to America.
[US](con. 1950s) McAleer & Dickson Unit Pride (1981) 340: I’d suggest you put your ass in your hand and screw.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 26: ‘Haskins [...] what’s for breakfast?’ ‘Screw, ’Tevo. Ain’t nuthin’ ready.’.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 84: Thing of it is, though, I know the minute he gets it offa his chest, he’s gonna screw on me.

(b) (UK und.) to turn.

[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks 4: Don’t screw your napper: Do not turn your head.

(c) to drive, to travel about.

[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 184: Yet there ain’t that many black Bentleys screwing around the boulevard.

7. (orig. Aus.) in senses of ‘screwing up the eyes’.

(a) (also screw off) to survey, to look at an object; to notice.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Dec. 40/2: I screws along the time-table ter see what train goes first, but there wasn’t anything ter suit me style o’ beauty till I strikes Gisborne.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Dec. 38/2: The nasty-tempered cow that jumps on yer when yer never expect him, an’ screws at yer journal.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 31 Jan. 6/1: Home and mother fade from memory as you screw them off [i.e. girls in swimming costumes] and think of the balmy evenings to come.
[Aus]C.H. Thorp Handful of Ausseys 199: Then another Aussey screws me off an’ comes larfin’ acraws the street.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 11 Aug. 15/1: Having carefully screwed off the possy, make friends with Fido.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 30 Dec. 45/7: ‘Bli’ me!’ he ejaculated, ‘screw the old pot with the crook minces!’.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 333: ‘Screw over there.’ ‘Look over there.’.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 39: ‘There,’ he says, and holds it up where everybody can screw.
[UK]R. Fabian Anatomy of Crime 192: Screw the cashes, Guv.

(b) (also screw off) to stare intently at someone.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 21 Oct. 4/7: When I looks round and sees me old cheese there / A screwin’ me orf with a frown.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 July 14/1: I wuz scourin’ th’ suburbs at th’ time uv tumblin’ shrewd. Short stages, ’n’ suspicious screwin’ b’ sour females, topped off b’ scraps wuz th’ daily rooteen.
[Can]J. Mandelkau Buttons 27: I saw four Mods come out. They started screwing me.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 200: Screw, to [...] (c) to look at intently, ‘Look at that geezer screwing us’.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 108: One kid [...] is screwing me, with hate and envy in his eyes.
[UK]London Posse ‘Livin’ Pancoot’ 🎵 Who you tryin’ to screw?
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 37: Sonny’s screwing me — eye-to-eye contact.

8. (W.I./UK black teen) in senses of facial contortion caused by annoyance.

(a) to crumple up one’s face in annoyance, tightly puckering the lips and features into a vexed look.

[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 46: Screw to sport an intimidatory scowl, showing one’s displeasure.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 71: I know Shannon was screwin’ ’cause Mikey’s boys were tooled up.

(b) to complain, to make a fuss.

[UK] in R. Graef Living Dangerously 166: When I got two years’ probation order he was screwin’ (upset).
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 192: You looked after me for long enough Auntie, I can’t screw.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 61: I was proper screwing ’cos I wanted to stay in the car [...] but Noel insisted that I meet Dryneck.
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 157: When Gotti told him, Bimz started screwing like fuckssake, this guy.

(c) to vilify, to humiliate, either verbally or via ‘dumb insolence’.

[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 166: You teefed my story. — Cos you’re always screwin’ me down.
1011 ‘Next Up?’ 🎵 Hospital, nose full of tubes / Got yourself shanked up 'cuh your bros wanna screw.

Pertaining to sex

In phrases

screw-and-spew movie (n.) [SE spew]

a pornographic film depicting extreme violence.

[Can]M. Atwood Cat’s Eye (1989) 264: It’s so much better than licking bums and hacking up women’s bodies in screw-and-spew movies.
screw around (v.)

1. (orig. US) to act in a promiscuous manner.

[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 340: You know I don’t want you to screw around.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 79: Don’t you feel a little funny screwing around with the guy who knocked off your old man?
[US]D. Pendleton Executioner (1973) 156: You know ’bout my old lady screwin’ around while I was in ’Nam.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 64: Wives were wives, rather then women, and ‘affirmative action’ was popping them right in the orthodontia when they [...] started screwing around.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 63: He was always on the road . . . No doubt he was screwing around.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Culture 1 Aug. 7: In Victorian times, the British upper-classes screwed around constantly.
[UK]Guardian G2 27 Mar. 4: No more screwing around.
[Aus]P. Temple Dead Point (2008) [ebook] He’s bin screwin around [...] Some blokes got no idea when they’re lucky.
[US]J. Lansdale Leather Maiden 175: ‘While you were out screwing around [...] I been sitting here waiting’.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 268: If you were screwing around on the Lower East Side in the eighties, you were inevitably within a person or two of a needle.
[US]A. Kirzman Giuliani 35: ‘[H]alf of the time he was working late he was screwing around with people in his office’.

2. see also negative terms below.

screw off (v.)

1. (US) to masturbate.

[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 76: That’s where they find out about dope and screwing off.

2. see also terms pertaining to departure below.

screw oneself silly (v.)

to indulge in sexual intercourse excessively.

[Aus]T. Winton Turning (2005) 137: They got trashed for a week and screwed themselves silly.
screw the arse off (v.) (also screw the ass off, ...socks off, screw someone’s box off) [arse n. (4)/ass n. (4)/— one’s socks off under sock n.1 /box n.1 (1a)]

to indulge in aggressive, vigorous copulation.

[US] joke cited in G. Legman Rationale of the Dirty Joke (1972) I 60: I overheard Daddy say that last night he screwed the ass off a WAC.
[US]T.I. Rubin In the Life 44: He screwed my box off.
C.H, Wood ‘Terrible Hard’ Says Alice 114: I want to take you back to my tent and screw the arse off you.
E. Arnold Proving Ground 2: So when I take this tomato there [...] I whisper, ‘I’d like to screw the ass off you’.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 310: He screwed his socks off the night after payday.
[US]S. King It (1987) 83: There were plenty of women in this part of Nebraska who would have been happy to screw the socks off him.
J. Collins Hollywood Husbands 227: I’m all right to screw the ass off — but marriage?
[US]H. Roth From Bondage 343: A prayer for deliverance for having screwed the ass off Zaida’s granddaughter, and not being caught?
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 316: I screwed the arse off her.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 screw the arse off (....) v. to have enthusiastic sexual relations such that the person with whom you indulge, is incapacitated thru over stimulation.

Pertaining to cheating or swindling

In phrases

screw out of (v.)

(orig. US) to defraud, to cheat, to deceive.

[UK]Austen Emma I 38: Mrs Goddard was the mistress of a School – not of a seminary [...] where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 233: If we can screw another fifty out of old Lady Shortwhist, so much the better.
[UK]J. Greenwood Seven Curses of London 170: If I entrust my tailor with stuff for a suit, and it afterwards comes to my knowledge that he has screwed an extra waistcoat out of it [...] do I regard it as a serious act of robbery?
[UK]Besant & Rice Golden Butterfly III 62: They have devised a new and ingenious method of screwing money out of the rich.
[Aus]Field 12 Dec. n.p.: The utterly exorbitant rents that Scotch proprietors ... have managed to screw out of sportsmen in the last few years [F&H].
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 28 Feb. 8/3: The man who buys stores for a shipping co. in the Holy City makes a bigger income every year out of corns, which be screws out of unfortunate provender merchants than the directors make all put together.
[UK]Buchan Obs. 4 Sept. 3/5: ‘She [...] wad need unco carefu’ han’lin afore I could screw a twa three shilluns oot o’ ’er’.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 214: That was all I’ve ever been able to screw out of him.
[US]F. Packard White Moll 142: All you had to do was [...] come here and screw the money out of a helpless old man.
[Ire]S. O’Casey Plough and the Stars Act I: Screwin’ every penny she can out o’ them.
‘Josephine Tey’ Shilling for Candles 68: So he had done it, that good-looking emotionalist! He had screwed a ranch and five thousand out of his host.
[UK]N. Devon Jrnl 13 Mar. 5/6: What I came for was to help you screw something out of those who are screwable.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 36: The man who screwed the world out of the price of tulips.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 158: I screwed a handsome settlement out of her.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 51: This fuckin alky screwed Tommy out of a loader swag an fuckin disappeared.
screw over (v.)

to cheat, to swindle, to treat badly or harshly.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 68: Tell him to find another white boy to screw over.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 202: Last time a doctor screwed me over, I broke his frigging neck.
[US]M. Myers et al. Wayne’s World [film script] It was a good little show and they screwed it over.
[US]C. Hiaasen Sick Puppy 285: Regardless of how egregiously they’d been screwed over [...] they emerged placid.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] ‘He was worried we were about to do something royally fucked up. Something that might screw us over’.
[US]S.A. Crosby Blacktop Wasteland 32: He screwed Buearegard over on a job.

Negative terms

In compounds

In phrases

screw around (v.) (orig. US)

1. to mess about, to waste time.

[US]H. McCoy They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in Four Novels (1983) 10: Why are these high-powered scientists always screwing around trying to prolong life.
[US]H. Hunt East of Farewell 107: We haven’t got enough fuel to screw around.
[US]H. Ellison Web of the City (1983) 25: They had all rumbled together [...] all screwed around and had fun together.
[US]W.C. Anderson Adam M-1 243: Have we got time to be screwing around with channels?
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 114: A previously unheard-of spade who’s screwing around with the [...] process of organized crime.
[US]‘Joe Bob Briggs’ Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In 69: I know. I know. I know. You’re thinking ‘Joe Bob has been out screwing around again and he didn’t count up those ballots like he said he would’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 217: Freddie, don’t screw around.
[US]S. King Dreamcatcher 113: Now come on, let’s stop screwing around.
[US]L. Berney Whiplash River [ebook] ‘Stop screwing around, you old fart. Take us inside and pour us a stiff one’.

2. to annoy someone, to mess someone around; to waste someone’s time, usu. as screw around with.

[US]H. Ellison Web of the City (1983) 131: And he was too big and Polish to be screwing around with.
[US]L. Bangs Psychotic Reactions (1988) 254: If somebody screws around with you, fine, smash ’em back if you want.
[US]S. King Christine 63: You’re on probation, kid. You screw around with me just one time and [...] I’ll put you out on your ass.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 198: ‘I don’t think we should screw around with the sergeant on this’.
[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] Girls constantly screwed him around because he was so nice.

3. see also terms pertaining to sex above.

screw the pooch (v.) (also pooch, screw the dog) [pooch n.; i.e. var. on fuck the dog (and sell the pups) under dog n.2 ]

to waste time; to blunder badly.

R. Prickett Cantrell 207: But Cantrell, if you screw the pooch, don't come home.
E. Ruggero Firefall 352: It was entirely possible that Isen had lost his sense of perspective, that he was about to screw the pooch in a big way. 🌐 The phrase ‘screw the pooch’ itself was derived from an earlier phrase that was quite familiar to those of us in the service in WW2. [...] Anyone who has ever been in the military has spent an inordinate amount of time in a ‘stand-by’ formation waiting for someone to get the orders to start some activity. Many man-hours were spent in an activity that was commonly known as ‘Effing the dog.’ [Note: They didn’t really say, ‘Effing,’ but I’m sure you can figure it out.] Back home in civilian life this was cleaned up to the slightly more acceptable ‘screwing the pooch’.
V. Burstyn Water, Inc. 258: You screw the pooch one more time and you’re both completely finished.
[UK]Indep. Extra 23 Nov. 5: The test pilot who ‘screwed the pooch’ was the one who died in the wreckage of his plane.
[UK]Guardian 22 May 🌐 It was just a poorly done deal and it just so happens to be the biggest deal ever for Nasdaq and they pooched it, that’s the bottom line here,.
[US]in Observer 6 Mar. 🌐 Schlegel, 68, from Clinton, Ohio, added: ‘I think the Republican establishment is screwing the pooch when they turn on Trump’.
screw up

see separate entries.

screw with (v.)

1. to annoy, to challenge, to mess someone about.

[US]H. Ellison ‘Johnny Slice’s Stoolie’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 80: Nobody screws with him.
[US]C. Fleming High Concept 159: I’ll slit someone’s wrist [...] if they screw with me.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 193: Sops is who Dennie owes. An’ you don’t screw wiv him.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] ‘Remind me never to screw with you ’.

2. (Aus.) to interfere with or sabotage an inanimate object.

[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] I’d have to explain where I’d been when someone screwed with my car.

In exclamations

go screw yourself! (also go screw!)

(orig. US) a general excl. of dismissal.

R. Whitcomb Talk United States! 78: Lay offa me, lummox, I says, and go screw yourself. After that Baldy was cool as a cucumber.
[US]A. Kapelner Lonely Boy Blues (1965) 76: You’re a nasty dog, Joe! Go screw!
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 162: They can all of them go screw themselves, and I’ll be the first guy to walk across the street and watch it.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 290: She turned and yelled at him ta go screw he opened his fly and took his cock out.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 67: Go screw yourself, you slant-eyed bastard.
Meyer & Ebert Beyond Valley of the Dolls [film script] I gently suggested to Aunt Susan that the millions could go screw.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 166: Oh look how sad wih all are. Me arse. Yuh can all go screw.
[US]J. Franco Palo Alto (2011) 11: I thought you were some late trick-or-treaters, and I was about to tell them to go screw.
[Scot]T. Black ‘Killing Time in Las Vegas’ in Killing Time in Las Vegas [ebook] Go screw yourself, Francis . . . go fucking screw yourself!
[US]L. Berney Long & Faraway Gone [ebook] ‘Screw yourself, you selfish, moody, mean bitch of a big sister’.
C. James in Observer (London) 30 Oct. 🌐 Hillary was rightly praised for her poise, but she should have told him at least once to go screw himself.
screw it! [euph. for fuck it! excl.]

(orig. US) the hell with it! forget it!

[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 310: When they asked, ‘Why’d you do it?’ / The priest said, ‘Oh, screw it! / It’s just for the young girls I bang.’.
[US]Jones & Jones Face of War 111: Aw screw it.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 12 Dec. in Proud Highway (1997) 79: Screw it all: if this path leads up, then I’d rather go down.
[US]L. McMurtry Horseman, Pass By (1997) 110: ‘Screw it,’ he said.
[US]A. Maupin Tales of the City (1984) 72: Screw it! Beauchamp could sweat out the bills for once.
[US] Ice-T ‘Radio Suckers’ 🎵 So I tell them duck suckers to cold go screw it!
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 242: ‘Then screw it,’ said the attorney. ‘Let’s go with the Squires.’.
[UK]J. Joso Soothing Music for Stray Cats 37: Argh, screw it, what do I care what some arsehole thinks about what I’m reading?
screw you!

1. (orig. US) an excl. of dismissal, contempt.

[US]J.T. Farrell World I Never Made 46: Screw you and your sons!
[US]T. Heggen Mister Roberts 84: Screw you, you silly bastard.
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 220: ‘Hurrayferus an’ screwyoo!’ the marine yelled.
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 11: Aw screw you, Shorty.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 135: Thcrew you in the I.J. Farbin building!
[UK]A. Ayckbourn Joking Apart I i: Aw, screw you, brother! Screw you!
[UK]A. Burgess 1985 (1980) 131: I hope my situation gives you bad dreams, Mr Prothero. Screw you.
[US]LaBarge & Holt Sweetwater Gunslinger 201 (1990) 60: Slim tuned his head and calmly said, ‘Screw you’.
[US]D. Hecht Skull Session 20: ‘Screw you, bitch!’ he joked.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 151: Screw you, Cage. Don’t tell me how to run my business.
[UK]Observer 30 Jan. 5/4: It was basically him saying screw you to the people. Well, guess what, we’re saying screw you to him too.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 7: Screw you, Barbie.
[US](con. 1963) L. Berney November Road 252: ‘Screw you,’ Joey said.
[Aus]P. Papathanasiou Stoning 159: ‘Smart arse,’ he spat [...] ‘Hey, Bill,’ he said calmly, ‘screw you too’.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 17: ‘Cool it, man,’ I said and grinned a screw-you-amigo smile.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 4: If you asked him if he needed help he would put on his screw you face.

Pertaining to robbery

In derivatives

screwer (n.) (UK Und.)

1. a thief, a burglar.

[US]‘S. Wood’ Shades of Prison House n.p.: The smash-and-grab man, the afternoon screwer of poor men’s houses, the whiz-man and the homosexual pervert end up in gaol! [OED].

2. burglary.

[UK]F. Norman Fings I i: His only real ambition is to do that one good screwer (burglary) which is going to set him up for life.

In phrases

screw a chat (v.) [cheat n. (1)]

(UK Und.) to break into a house.

[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 154: He did not vulgar thievery: he never screwed a chat, nor claimed a peter, nor worked the mace.

Pertaining to departure

In phrases

screw off (v.) [euph. for fuck off v.]

1. to take time off work or duty.

[US]L. Brown Iron City 196: Ryan, where the hell you been screwing off to?
[US]K. Kolb Getting Straight 31: Screwing off was more like it.
[US]J. Webb Fields of Fire (1980) 145: Hoping to catch a malaria-shaken, angry, frightened Marine [...] screwing off.
[UK](con. 1965) M. Berent Rolling Thunder (1990) 71: Senior NCO’s could screw off and not get caught.

2. (also screw) to leave, to depart.

[US]E. Wilson 28 Mar. [synd. col.] ‘Columnists! I cahn’t bear them [...] Screw, ole boy, screw!’.
[US]W. Murray Sweet Ride 167: Why don’t you screw off and leave us alone.
[US]G. Cain Blueschild Baby 110: ‘I told him if he couldn’t wait, screw off and get someone else’.
[US]S. King Running Man in Bachman Books (1995) 551: Screw off, Jack.
[US]Mad mag. May 10: X-Custodians come quickly! [...] Screw off! We’re union.

3. see also terms pertaining to sex above.

screw out (v.) [mid-20C+ uses seem to be a euph. for fuck off v. (1), but early ones may be autonomous]

(orig. US) to leave, to depart; often as imper.

[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 18: ‘Screw out! [...] We don’t want any of your talk!’ Then to an officer in the station: ‘Put him out!’.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 198: ‘Screw out!’ he commanded.
[UK]D. Ahearn How to Commit a Murder 104: You wind up with the dough and screw out.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Hottest Guy in the World’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 366: Screw out of town as quick as you can, because you are red hot around here.
[US]G. Marx letter 11 Feb. in Groucho Letters (1967) 155: The moment you screwed out of here.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 187/1: Screw out. To go out; to leave.
[US]J. Havoc Early Havoc 96: ‘C’mon, let’s get your coat [...] and screw outta here’.

Pertaining to staring

In phrases

who you screwin’?

an aggressive question aimed at someone who is staring, or perhaps is not, but with whom the speaker wishes to challenge.

Heltah Skeltah, Lord Digga, Cocoa Brovaz & Smack Man ‘Duck Down’ on Duck Down Presents [album] Who you screwin, what you doin, nuthin, Gold Pass iced up, frontin / Bout to get your back blown out, cuz we goin out blastin.

Pertaining to annoyance

In compounds

screwface (n.) (W.I./UK black teen)

1. an aggressive facial expression.

[[WI]Bob Marley ‘Talkin’ Blues’ 🎵 I’ve been down on the rock so long / I seem to wear a permanent screw, yeah].
[UK] (ref. to 1973) T. White Catch a Fire 237: The Wailers had recently released a single called ‘Screwface’ [...] referring to [...] the custom of grimacing fiercely in order to unsettle nighttime bushwhackers who preyed on those caught in shantytown.
[WI]L.E. Adams Jam. Patois 61: Screw: verb, to frown, as in screw-face.
[UK]Dizzee Rascal ‘Stop Dat’ 🎵 Screwface means you don’t know me, what you looking at, what’s your beef?
[UK]Guardian 13 Sept. 26/4: The street language of Dizzee and his peers evolves daily: [...] a ‘screwface’ is the scowl etched on inner-city faces.
[UK](con. 1951) A. Wheatle Island Songs (2006) 83: She had long ago perfected the ‘screwface’ glare to anyone who vexed her.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 177: He had his screwface on.
[UK]Skepta ‘Lyrics’ 🎵 Where you from? Huh, what’s wrong? / What’s going on? Why you got your screwface on?
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 35: That look which [...] is an instant challenge and I don’t just mean a screwface.

2. one whose face is crumpled up in annoyance and/or aggression; thus Old Screwface, the devil; adj. screwfaced.

[US]Nasir Jones ‘Live Now’ 🎵 Gucci suitcases (coughs), a chic did it, eff the screw faces.
[UK](con. c.1945) A. Wheatle Island Songs (2006) 21: Me nah ’fraid of nuh Preacher-Mon or de devil himself or Old Screwface as yuh like to call him.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 22: This screw-faced magistrate, sitting in his high-backed swivel chair, is no different from the gangbanger cruising up and down.
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 36: Screwfaces on the balcony [...] stony frowns, eyes full of black fire .

SE in slang uses

In compounds

screw-lucky (adj.)

(US) having good fortune, without any hinderances.

[US](con. 1945) G. Forbes Goodbye to Some (1963) 223: We were just screw-lucky [...] We hit going like hell, no stalling her in, no flaps, big swells [...] it’s too bad Bart couldn’t have had some of that luck.

In phrases

have one’s head screwed on (v.) (also have one’s head screwed on right, ...the right way, have one’s bobbin screwed on, ...cranium..., ...headpiece…, ...nut...)

to be aware, to understand, to know what’s what.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 312: [Note] A well-known dashing Prig, whose Head was considered to have been screwed on the right way.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 131: Unfortunately for Nell, her ‘nob was not screwed on the right way’ respecting her future welfare.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 40: Jerry Donavan, of the scraping fraternity [...] has his nut screwed on the right way [...] Jerry tumbles to his customers, and can fake the duck rumbo, and no nunks.
[US] ‘It’s Astonishing How It Is Done’ in My Young Wife and I Songster 14: A Chap to get along in this wide world of ours, / Must have his cranium screwed on the right way.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Dead Men’s Shoes II 32: ‘What a sensible girl you are, Jenny!’ ‘Yes, I believe my head is screwed on pretty tight.’.
[UK]D.C. Murray Rainbow Gold III 169: ‘Man’s head wasn’t half screwed on,’ concluded David.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Mord Em’ly 247: Why, they’d say you was a lucky gel, and that you was one who’d got her ’ead screwed on the right way.
[UK]Marvel 16 June 558: With five pounds, a boy, if he had his head screwed on right, could do a great deal for himself.
[UK]W.W. Jacobs ‘Easy Money’ in Monkey’s Paw (1962) 281: He’s got his ’ead screwed on right.
[Aus]‘Henry Handel Richardson’ Aus. Felix (1971) 108: That little lady o’ yours ’as got ’er ’eadpiece screwed on right way.
‘Josphine Tey’ (as ‘Gordon Daviot’) Man in the Queue 69: No parade of temperament or idiosyncrasy. A charming girl with her head screwed on the right way.
[UK]F. Durbridge Send for Paul Temple (1992) 87: The Commissioner isn’t quite such a fool as people think. He’s got his head screwed on all right.
[Ire]J. Phelan Letters from the Big House 14: Gosh that dame got her nut screwed on right!
[UK](con. 1937) R. Westerby Mad in Pursuit 214: She had her head screwed on right the right way – got a job, kept herself.
[Aus](con. 1936–46) K.S. Prichard Winged Seeds (1984) 36: Daph’s got her head screwed on the right way.
[Can]M. Richler Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1964) 301: That girl’s certainly got her head screwed on right.
[UK]B. McGhee Cut and Run (1963) 33: Dae ye think the polis are that stupit, that they couldny connect us wi’ the turn-up in that boozer? For cheeses sake screw your bobbin.
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 56: He surely had his head screwed on.
[UK]A. Salkey Come Home, Malcolm Heartland 172: Watch you’ step. Keep you’ head screw on right.
[UK]P. Bailey Eng. Madam 69: But nut case or not the girl had her head screwed on where money was concerned.
[UK](con. 1960s) A. Frewin London Blues 232: I’ll get my head screwed on first thing in the morning.
[UK]Observer Mag. 16 Apr. 12: She seems to have her head screwed on.
screw face (v.)

(US campus) to pretend.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 10: screw face – put on a facade, pretend: ‘I know Jim was just screw facing because he cannot stand being around her’.
screw it on (v.) [SE screw, to tighten]

to drive one’s car or motorcycle very fast.

[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 280: At the city limits the Angels screwed it on and roared back to Richmond.
[US]H. Crews Feast of Snakes 100: In the middle of this frantic ride, with his best buddy beside him screaming for him to Screw it on!
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad.
screw one’s nut (v.) [nut n.1 (1b)]

1. to dodge a blow aimed at one’s head.

[UK]Mirror of Life 12 Jan. 15/3: Pointing to Selby, Muggeridge said, ‘How has he got that?’ [i.e. blood on his face] and witness replied, ‘Because he could not screw his nut properly’.

2. (US) to turn around, to leave, to go.

[US]S.F. Chron. 6 June 11/5: I ribbed de rummy up to blow, an’ he screwed his nut.
[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Crime That Failed’ Sandburrs 78: We screws our nuts, me an’ d’ goph, to d’ duck who owns d’ house.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 31: Hully chee, I got tuh screw me nut!

3. to think hard.

[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 213: Screw your nut – Get wise to yourself.
[UK] ‘Screwsman’s Lament’ in Encounter n.d. in Norman Norman’s London (1969) 67: Now without these we’d be unemployed, and couldn’t go to graft, / No matter how much we screwed our nuts, in other words our craft.
[Scot](con. mid-1960s) J. Patrick Glasgow Gang Observed 235: Screw, as in ‘screw the nut’ – to become sensible, to ‘get wise’ to oneself.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 50: If I’d been screwing my nut I’d ’ve called the law.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 196: Usually it’s Mark that’s screwin the nut, but now he seems the gadge instigatin aw the villainy.

4. to behave in a crazy, poss. violent, manner.

[UK]B. McGhee Cut and Run (1963) 102: As usual Ben couldn’t help but ‘screw his nut’. [...] He and another prisoner had a duel with mat-knives, and although he came off best in the fight, he finished his time in an observation cell.