\ ˈskrü How to pronounce screw (audio) \

Definition of screw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
2a : 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
b : pressure or punitive measures intended to coerce used chiefly in the phrase put the screws on or put the screws to
9a vulgar : an act of sexual intercourse
b vulgar : a partner in sexual intercourse
have a screw loose
: to be mentally unbalanced


screwed; screwing; screws

Definition of screw (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(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
2a(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
4a(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

intransitive verb

1 : to rotate like or as a screw
2 : to turn or move with a twisting or writhing motion
3 vulgar : copulate

Other Words from screw


screwlike \ ˈskrü-​ˌlīk How to pronounce screw (audio) \ adjective


screwer noun

Examples of screw in a Sentence

Verb I screwed the boards together. The cupboards are screwed to the wall. Screw the cap on tight. Screw the light bulb into the fixture. The lid screws onto the jar. The light bulb screws right in. See More

First Known Use of screw


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1597, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for screw


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

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Time Traveler for screw

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The first known use of screw was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Screw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for screw


\ ˈskrü How to pronounce screw (audio) \

Kids Definition of screw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Kids Definition of screw (Entry 2 of 2)

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.


\ ˈskrü How to pronounce screw (audio) \

Medical Definition of screw

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

More from Merriam-Webster on screw Encyclopedia article about screw


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