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

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 But Anderson’s whimsical ode to journalism contradicts the spirit of screwball comedies about fearless, truth- and sensation-loving newspaper reporters from the 1930s that movie fans fondly remember. Armond White, National Review, 5 Nov. 2021 There’s an unmistakable screwball-comedy quality to the repartee, as unlikely partners Booth and Hartley bicker, or anytime the Bishop shows up and upstages the other two. Peter Debruge, Variety, 4 Nov. 2021 There are musical cartoons, screwball crime flicks, historic documentaries, and more on the docket. Keyaira Boone, Essence, 28 Sep. 2021 Yet there’s mischief and inquisitiveness, a hint of screwball timing, evident in all her performances. Mallika Rao, Vulture, 1 Sep. 2021 Though elements of these movies live on, classic screwball comedies fizzled out by the mid-1940s. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 29 Aug. 2021 As actress Marion Davies, Seyfried captures a fizzy screwball energy undercut by a sense of melancholy and disappointment with the world. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2021 Rube Goldberg was the Christopher Columbus of the screwball contraption, finding a way to get from point A to point B by traveling through all the other letters of the alphabet. Art Spiegelman, The New York Review of Books, 12 Mar. 2020 Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert's unlikely tumble into love led to the production of dozens of similar screwball comedies, launching one of the most memorable eras of romantic comedies. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 29 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 The screwball shifts in tone somehow cohere into a biting parable of haves and have-nots. The Economist, 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

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The first known use of screwball was in 1908

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Dictionary Entries Near screwball

screw back



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Statistics for screwball

Last Updated

10 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Screwball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for screwball



English Language Learners Definition of screwball

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a pitch that is thrown with spin so that the ball curves in a direction that is opposite to the direction of a curveball
: 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)

: funny in a very silly and strange way

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