put the screws on/to (someone or something)

idiom

informal
: to use force or the threat of force to make (someone or something) do what one wants
The government is finally putting the screws to an industry that's been evading environmental laws for years.

Examples of put the screws on/to (someone or something) in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That means that Beijing can put the screws on France without hurting its economy too much. Lionel Lim, Fortune Asia, 12 Jan. 2024 And the second one is that the U.S. holds tremendous structural economic power in the international system and can really put the screws to China. Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Foreign Affairs, 17 Nov. 2022 And President Xi Jinping has put the screws to tech firms in the past. Will Oremus, Washington Post, 17 Apr. 2023 The Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo, who has put the screws to genocidal strongmen and placed dictators behind bars, isn’t sure whether Donald Trump should be tried for the Jan. 6 riot. Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times, 1 Mar. 2023 And while America is embracing the Saint Peter’s story — who wouldn’t love a 2,200-student commuter school on a busy street in Jersey City trying to put the screws to Tobacco Road? — the Peacocks themselves are soaking it in without taking that seeding so seriously. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 27 Mar. 2022 But Jrue Holiday and the Greek Freak put the screws on Phoenix, which was not exactly a shock. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 3 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'put the screws on/to (someone or something).' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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Cite this Entry

“Put the screws on/to (someone or something).” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/put%20the%20screws%20on%2Fto%20%28someone%20or%20something%29. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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