1 of 2


screw·​ball ˈskrü-ˌbȯl How to pronounce screwball (audio)
: a baseball pitch that spins and breaks in the opposite direction to a curve
: a whimsical, eccentric, or crazy person : zany


2 of 2


: crazily eccentric or whimsical : zany

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
In just his second movie, Murphy connected again, this time with a take on the screwball comedies of the 1930s with a decidedly 1980s twist. Elliott Smith,, 10 Jan. 2023 Hollywood doesn’t seem particularly interested in producing screwball comedies anymore, which is too bad because stars like Rachel McAdams excel in that setting. Eliana Dockterman, Time, 23 Dec. 2022 Director Adam McKay — known for screwball comedies like Anchorman and, more recently, sociopolitical satires like The Big Short and Vice — tapped Mainzer as the movie's science adviser a few years back. Alex Orlando, Discover Magazine, 18 Dec. 2021 Hayley Atwell was a blast as Peggy Carter, moving on after Captain America’s disappearance, landing in screwball comedy and intrigue. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 11 Nov. 2022 It's very inspired by the screwball comedies of that period. Devan Coggan,, 2 Nov. 2022 Better to remember Heche as a loopy screwball heroine marooned on an island with a gruff hottie pilot. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 13 Aug. 2022 Lost in New York also has an ample supply of both loveable and screwball supporting characters, tons of really fun and interesting characters, like the Central Park pigeon lady that Kevin befriends and Tim Curry's vengeful hotel concierge. Keith Langston,, 8 Dec. 2022 Full of eccentric relatives, oddball events and screwball dialogue, the book is a dizzy delight. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2022
Each event becomes screwball one-act with different chaos ensembles. Darren Franich,, 16 Feb. 2023 Little wonder the screwball comedy is practically a lost genre. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 21 May 2020 These two also know how to banter like they’ve been thrown into a Golden Age screwball comedy. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 17 May 2020 The whole evening was unraveling along with the ballerina’s costume, replaced by a screwball comedy. Washington Post, 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, 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, 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, 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, 6 Apr. 2020 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1936, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of screwball was in 1908

Dictionary Entries Near screwball

Cite this Entry

“Screwball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
screw·​ball ˈskrü-ˌbȯl How to pronounce screwball (audio)
: a baseball pitch that moves away from a straight path in a direction opposite to a curve
: a crazy person : nut


2 of 2 adjective

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