Green’s Dictionary of Slang

screw v.

1. [mid-17C; late 19C] to render drunk [i.e. screwed adj. (1)].

2. as a synon. for fuck v.

(a) [early 18C+] to have sexual intercourse; poss. the most common example of the equation sex = violence; cit. 1833 is a double entendre.

(b) [late 18C+] (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 ].

(c) [1910s+] (orig. US) to ruin, to pervert, to upset.

(d) [1930s+] used as a synon./euph. for fuck v. (3), e.g. screw the government!; often as screw you!

(e) [1960s+] lit. and fig., to hurt.

(f) [1960s+] (US) to sodomize.

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

(a) [early 19C–1900s] to subject a student to an extremely searching examination.

(b) [1960s] to fail a test or examination.

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

(a) [early 19C+] to break into, to rob, orig. with a skeleton key; .

(b) [mid-19C-1910s] to lock, e.g. a door, a moneybox.

(c) [1920s] to escape by unlocking a door.

(d) [1940s] (Aus. Und.) to sentence; to imprison.

5. [mid-19C] to act like a miser [screw n.1 (3c)].

6. in the context of movement.

(a) [late 19C+] (US) to run off, to leave; also as imper. screw, go away.

(b) [1980s] to drive, to travel about.

7. [20C+] (orig. Aus.) in senses of ‘screwing up the eyes’.

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

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

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

(a) [1980s+] to crumple up one’s face in annoyance, tightly puckering the lips and features into a vexed look.

(b) [1990s+] to complain, to make a fuss.

(c) [2000s] to vilify, to humiliate.

Pertaining to sex

In phrases

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

[1980s] a pornographic film depicting extreme violence.

screw around (v.)

1. [1940s+] (orig. US) to act in a promiscuous manner.

2. see also negative terms below.

screw off (v.)

1. [1970s] (US) to masturbate.

2. see also terms pertaining to departure below.

screw oneself silly (v.)

[2000s] to indulge in sexual intercourse excessively.

Pertaining to cheating or swindling

In phrases

screw out of (v.)

[early 19C+] (orig. US) to defraud, to cheat, to deceive.

screw over (v.)

[1970s+] to cheat, to swindle, to treat badly or harshly.

super-screwing (v.) [super n.2 (1)]

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) watch-stealing.

Negative terms

In compounds

In phrases

screw around (v.) (orig. US)

1. [1930s+] to mess about, to waste time.

2. [1950s+] to annoy someone, to mess someone around; usu. as screw around with.

3. see also terms pertaining to sex above.

screw up

see separate entries.

screw with (v.)

1. [1950s+] to annoy, to challenge, to mess someone about.

2. [2010s] (Aus.) to interfere with or sabotage an inanimate object.

In exclamations

go screw yourself! (also go screw!)

[1930s+] (orig. US) a general excl. of dismissal.

screw a monkey!

[1990s+] a general dismissive excl.

screw it! [euph. for fuck it! excl.]

[1940s+] (orig. US) the hell with it! forget it!

screw you!

1. [1930s+] (orig. US) an excl. of dismissal, contempt.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

Pertaining to robbery

In derivatives

screwer (n.) [1930s–50s] (UK Und.)

1. a thief, a burglar.

2. burglary.

In phrases

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

[late 19C] (UK Und.) to break into a house.

Pertaining to departure

In phrases

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

1. [1950s+] to take time off work or duty.

2. [1960s+] to leave, to depart.

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]

[20C+] (orig. US) to leave, to depart; often as imper.

Pertaining to staring

In phrases

who you screwin’?

[1990s+] an aggressive question aimed at someone who is staring, or perhaps is not, but with whom the speaker wishes to challenge.

Pertaining to annoyance

In compounds

screwface (n.) [1940s+] (W.I./UK black teen)

1. an aggressive facial expression.

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

SE in slang uses

In compounds

screw-lucky (adj.)

[1940s–60s] (US) having good fortune, without any hinderances.

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...)

[early 19C+] to be aware, to understand, to know what’s what.

screw face (v.)

[1990s+] (US campus) to pretend.

screw it on (v.) [SE screw, to tighten]

[1960s+] to drive one’s car or motorcycle very fast.

screw one’s nut (v.) [nut n.1 (1b)]

1. [late 19C] to dodge a blow aimed at one’s head.

2. [1900s] (US) to turn around, to leave, to go.

3. [1930s–70s] to think hard.

4. [1960s] to behave in a crazy, poss. violent, manner.

unscrew (v.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) to break open, e.g. a trunk.