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


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


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

Has four pitches – fastball, changeup, curveball, screwball. Dan Brechlin,, "Meet the 2019 All-Courant spring high school athletes of the year," 2 Aug. 2019 Little things like that felt like a screwball setup. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "The Farewell writer-director Lulu Wang on the joys of laughing at human nature," 17 July 2019 Aronson has the look of a guy who can do a good screwball turn. New York Times, "The Day the Music Burned," 11 June 2019 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,, "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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Excepting for an expansive, deeply screwball interpretive dance that occupies the entirety of the stage, Sharp offers a masters’ thesis in the less-is-more school of acting. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Review: ‘Hot Asian Doctor Husband’ really funny, but needs streamlining," 18 Aug. 2019 That a play in which things go so horribly wrong can get things so hysterically right is the fundamental paradox at the screwball heart of Michael Frayn’s classic comedy that returns to A Noise Within for another run. Matt Cooper,, "SoCal theater listings, June 9-16: ‘Indecent,’ the Hollywood Fringe Festival and more," 7 June 2019 Unfortunately, in season three the show has squandered this considerable legacy with a succession of cheap thrills, screwball antics, corny one-liners, and chaotic, disorienting storylines. Daniel Payne, National Review, "In Its Third Season, Stranger Things Strays from What Made It Great," 20 July 2019 Double Indemnity / Ball of Fire Double feature pairs Billy Wilder’s 1944 film noir classic starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson with Howard Hawks’ 1941 screwball comedy starring Stanwyck opposite Gary Cooper. Matt Cooper,, "SoCal movie events & revivals, July 7-14: ‘Double Indemnity,’ ‘Star Wars’ and more," 7 July 2019 For Brick, Johnson had his actors read Hammett and watch classic screwball comedies like His Girl Friday to bring a lighter touch to the traditional noir genre. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Rian Johnson trades in lightsabers for postmodern whodunnit Knives Out," 2 July 2019 The most immediate standout is a three-night series of double features that pair a classic Hollywood film noir with a contemporaneous screwball comedy. Jordan Cronk, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Picks: A July To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.," 1 July 2019 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

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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Statistics for screwball

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

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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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on screwball

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with screwball

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for screwball Encyclopedia article about screwball

Comments on screwball

What made you want to look up screwball? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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