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



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 That was only a portion of a screwball World Series. Patrick Reusse, Star Tribune, "1968 World Series champion Tigers had a story all their own besides beating Bob Gibson in Game 7," 3 Oct. 2020 Beyond her riseball, Krings’ pitching repertoire also features a screwball, curveball/drop ball, changeup and backdoor curve. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "The local softball legend of Laurin Krings: A behemoth home run, a state strikeout record and a perfect game," 7 June 2020 Mays jolted a Spahn screwball, his 201st pitch, over the left-field wall with one out in the 16th. Steve Kroner,, "July 2, 1963: Giants’ Juan Marichal beats Braves’ Warren Spahn 1-0 in 16 innings," 2 July 2020 Bitter partisan invective certainly exists, though it has been stripped of any real outrage and given a slick screwball sheen. cleveland, "Jon Stewart’s off-key political comedy, starring Steve Carell, is far from ‘Irresistible’," 25 June 2020 Trapped in a teensy, overheated car with handsome B&B guest Aubrey (Y’lan Noel), Zadie has to get creative with her seduction, which results in a screwball attempted make-out session. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Sasheer Zamata Is Back and Reinventing the Rom-Com," 16 Sep. 2019 At worst, these calculations were a weird mix of conservative commercial greed, liberal political correctness, and shared screwball naïveté. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "How China ‘Woke’ America," 3 Oct. 2019 The show proceeds as a deliberate pastiche, dense with references to movies ranging from thirties screwballs to the work of David Lynch. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” Is a Funhouse-Mirror Reflection of the So-Called Meritocracy," 24 Sep. 2019 But there is no evidence that the Kremlin’s screwball, Boris Badenov–worthy campaign of dank memery had any meaningful effect on the 2016 election. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Resist?," 15 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Little wonder the screwball comedy is practically a lost genre. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Lovebirds Is a Delightful Screwball Comedy Elevated by the Charms of Its Leading Duo," 21 May 2020 These two also know how to banter like they’ve been thrown into a Golden Age screwball comedy. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Why HBO's Run is the thirstiest show on TV right now," 17 May 2020 The whole evening was unraveling along with the ballerina’s costume, replaced by a screwball comedy. Washington Post, "In ballet, conductors are the dancers’ guardian angels," 29 Apr. 2020 But for the first time in a while, 60 seemingly screwball words at the bottom of Alabama’s game contracts are more than a formality. Michael Casagrande |, al, "The 60 obscure words that could impact the Alabama football schedule," 6 May 2020 And then there’s his inborn ear for every shade of human babble, here a transcendent four-hander, there a screwball travelogue, everywhere argot and idiolect and argument. New York Times, "What if, Instead of the Internet, We Had Xenobots?," 23 Apr. 2020 An anxious, screwball chemistry flickers between the leads; the train backdrop recalls classics like North by Northwest and the original Murder on the Orient Express. Judy Berman, Time, "Desperate for a New Phoebe Waller-Bridge Show? Try HBO's Romantic Thriller Run," 8 Apr. 2020 But, when the coronavirus outbreak sent large swaths of the U.S. into self-quarantine last month, Jordan began recording slapdash, screwball videos from a spartan Airbnb in his home town, and noticed his following balloon. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Leslie Jordan Is the Ideal Quarantine Companion," 6 Apr. 2020 The screwball shifts in tone somehow cohere into a biting parable of haves and have-nots. The Economist, "Creepy crawlies The Oscars triumph of “Parasite”," 13 Feb. 2020

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


1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1936, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for screwball

Time Traveler

The first known use of screwball was in 1908

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Statistics for screwball

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Screwball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce screwball (audio)

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



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

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

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