noun \ ˈskrü \
1 a : a simple machine of the inclined plane type consisting of a spirally grooved solid cylinder and a correspondingly grooved hollow cylinder into which it fits
b : a nail-shaped or rod-shaped piece with a spiral groove and a slotted or recessed head designed to be inserted into material by rotating (as with a screwdriver) and used for fastening pieces of solid material together
2 a : a screwlike form : spiral
b : a turn of a screw; also : a twist like the turn of a screw
c : a screwlike device (such as a corkscrew)
3 : a worn-out horse
4 chiefly British : a small packet (as of tobacco)
5 : a prison guard
6 : a person who bargains shrewdly; also : skinflint
7 : a propeller especially of a ship
8 a : thumbscrew 1
b : pressure or punitive measures intended to coerce used chiefly in the phrase put the screws on or put the screws to
9 a vulgar : an act of sexual intercourse
b vulgar : a partner in sexual intercourse


play \ˈskrü-ˌlīk\ adjective
have a screw loose
: to be mentally unbalanced

Origin and Etymology of screw

Middle English scrue, from Middle French escroe female screw, nut, from Medieval Latin scrofa, from Latin, sow

First Known Use: 15th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Other Hardware Terms



1 a (1) : to attach, fasten, or close by means of a screw
(2) : to unite or separate by means of a screw or a twisting motion
(3) : to press tightly in a device (such as a vise) operated by a screw
(4) : to operate, tighten, or adjust by means of a screw
(5) : to torture by means of a thumbscrew
b : to cause to rotate spirally about an axis
2 a (1) : to twist into strained configurations : contort
  • screwed up his face
(2) : squint
(3) : crumple
b : to furnish with a spiral groove or ridge : thread
3 : to increase the intensity, quantity, or capability of
  • trying to screw up courage to confess
  • —Will Scott
4 a (1) : to mistreat or exploit through extortion, trickery, or unfair actions; especially : to deprive of or cheat out of something due or expected
(2) : to treat so as to bring about injury or loss (as to a person's reputation)
  • use the available Federal machinery to screw our political enemies
  • —J. W. Dean III
often used as a generalized curse
  • screw you!
b : to extract by pressure or threat
5 vulgar : to copulate with
1 : to rotate like or as a screw
2 : to turn or move with a twisting or writhing motion
3 vulgar : copulate



Examples of screw in a Sentence

  1. I screwed the boards together.

  2. The cupboards are screwed to the wall.

  3. Screw the cap on tight.

  4. Screw the light bulb into the fixture.

  5. The lid screws onto the jar.

  6. The light bulb screws right in.

screw Synonyms

SCREW Defined for Kids



noun \ ˈskrü \
1 : a nail-shaped or rod-shaped piece of metal with a winding ridge around its length used for fastening and holding pieces together
2 : the act of twisting
3 : propeller



screwed; screwing
1 : to attach or fasten with a screw
2 : to turn or twist on a winding ridge to attach
  • Remember to screw the lid back on the jar.
3 : to twist out of shape
  • Her face was screwed up with pain.
4 : to increase in amount
  • He had to screw up his nerve to ask.

Medical Dictionary


noun \ ˈskrü \
: a threaded device used in bone surgery for fixation of parts (as fragments of fractured bones)

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