screwball

noun
screw·​ball | \ ˈskrü-ˌbȯl How to pronounce screwball (audio) \

Definition of screwball

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a baseball pitch that spins and breaks in the opposite direction to a curve
2 : a whimsical, eccentric, or crazy person : zany

screwball

adjective

Definition of screwball (Entry 2 of 2)

: crazily eccentric or whimsical : zany

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Examples of screwball in a Sentence

Noun

She really did that? What a screwball. a screwball who liked to save lint and bits of string

Adjective

she's always off on some screwball plan
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Michael Cohen is, famously, a lowlife and screwball who’s made his living as an enforcer, liar and thug. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Michael Cohen Makes History," 28 Feb. 2019 In classic Hughes fashion, the screwball rapport between Steve Martin and John Candy drives the movie, and there's a lot of heart and (non-dad-joke) humor to go around. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "10 Non-Corny Thanksgiving Movies to Cue Up This Year," 22 Nov. 2017 Kathleen Moore offers a screwball take on Addaperle, the goofy Good Witch of the North. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "Exuberant performances, top-notch voices enliven 'The Wiz'," 14 June 2017 The Coens deliver a legal comedy made in the spirit of a 1930s screwball, but with a dark touch that's distinctly their own. Esquire Editors, Esquire, "The 15 Best Rom-Coms (for People Who Hate Rom-Coms)," 8 Feb. 2017 Most surprising, the screwball-style romance between Diana and Steve is, by superhero-movie standards, substantial. Dana Stevens, Slate Magazine, "This delicately powerful superhero movie made me finally see the importance of female representation.," 1 June 2017 In classic Hughes fashion, the screwball rapport between Steve Martin and John Candy drives the movie, and there's a lot of heart and (non-dad-joke) humor to go around. Lori Keong, Marie Claire, "8 Non-Corny Thanksgiving Movies to Cue Up This Year," 17 Aug. 2017 The 1941 screwball comedy stars Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery as a married couple. AL.com, "12 more pop culture Alabama and Auburn moments you told us about," 4 Aug. 2017 There’s something occasionally mannered and artificial about his dialogue, which tends toward the screwball or the Socratic, depending on the moment. Jennifer Senior, New York Times, "‘The Long Haul’ Is a Trucker’s Slangy Tour of the Road," 31 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Here's hoping Hart brings his trademark style of screwball humor but pairs it with some serious talk about changing the industry. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Kevin Hart Had an Emotional Response to the News He's Hosting the Oscars," 5 Dec. 2018 Starring Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell, this screwball comedy is based off the short story of the same name. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "13 Classic Christmas Movies That Millennials Should Definitely Watch," 6 Dec. 2018 And the 1978 Superman film drew inspiration from the adult humor of 1930s fast-talking screwball comedies, with Clark Kent / Superman (Christopher Reeve) and hard-nosed reporter Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) exchanging witty quips between super-flights. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "The best superhero stories admit that superheroes are ridiculous," 11 July 2018 McDonagh is often at his best with quickfire banter, screwball comedy with a screw loose, and in the hands and mouths of Conway and Walley the pair's dialogue exchanges really sing. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lieutenant of Inishmore': Theater Review," 5 July 2018 This romantic screwball comedy concerns an overworked employee, Billie, who quits her job — just before her nuptials with her wife-to-be — and concocts a seemingly hopeless plan to make an app that will pay the bills. David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, "Frameline offers movie feast during Pride Week," 14 June 2018 By the 1930s the grande dame was already becoming an archetype—the stock character duchess harrumphing through Agatha Christie mysteries and screwball comedies, clinging to a bygone era. Sadie Stein, Town & Country, "The Revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the Evolution of the Society Grand Dame," 20 Sep. 2016 The genre of a screwball comedy is very underserved. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "Uma Thurman on The Con Is On, Acting Ruthlessly, and Her Met Gala Plans," 3 May 2018 This accounts, in a philosophical sort of way, for de la Pava’s explicit embrace of the principles of screwball comedy—specifically, its reliance on the idea of coincidence. Elif Batuman, The New Yorker, "A Public Defender’s Polyphonic Novel of Football and Social Justice," 30 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'screwball.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of screwball

Noun

1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1936, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for screwball

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Time Traveler for screwball

The first known use of screwball was in 1908

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More Definitions for screwball

screwball

noun

English Language Learners Definition of screwball

 (Entry 1 of 2)

baseball : a pitch that is thrown with spin so that the ball curves in a direction that is opposite to the direction of a curveball
chiefly US, informal : a crazy person : a person who is not able to think in a clear or sensible way

screwball

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of screwball (Entry 2 of 2)

US, informal : funny in a very silly and strange way

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More from Merriam-Webster on screwball

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with screwball

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for screwball

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about screwball

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