put the screws on/to (someone or something)

idiom

Definition of put the screws on/to (someone or something)

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.

Learn More About put the screws on/to (someone or something)

Dictionary Entries Near put the screws on/to (someone or something)

put the phone down on (someone)

put the screws on/to (someone or something)

put the skids under

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for put the screws on/to (someone or something)

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 27 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!