screw·​up | \ ˈskrü-ˌəp How to pronounce screwup (audio) \

Definition of screwup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who screws up

screw up

screwed up; screwing up; screws up

Definition of screw up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to tighten, fasten, or lock by or as if by a screw
b : to cause to act or function in a crazy or confused way : confound, disturb

intransitive verb

: to botch an activity or undertaking

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Examples of screwup in a Sentence

Noun That was a major screwup. She's a screwup who can't hold down a job. Verb we all screw up from time to time, so don't sweat it you've totally screwed up the spreadsheet
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From Adam Sandler’s turn as a Diamond District screwup in Uncut Gems to Helen Mirren’s tour de force Catherine the Great, the year’s most talked-about performances featured cameos—no pun intended—by blockbuster bling. The Editors, Town & Country, "The 2020 Town & Country Jewelry Awards," 17 Jan. 2020 Elections Systems & Software took full responsibility for the screwup. cleveland, "Wisconsin judge orders up to 234,000 voters purged from rolls: The Flyover," 16 Dec. 2019 Server failed, was reactivated 9 months later Syniverse acknowledged its screwup in a statement posted on its website yesterday. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Why more than 168,000 Valentine’s day text messages arrived in November," 8 Nov. 2019 The Raiders will rue the Carr screwup, and maybe complain that the refs and the league are out to get ‘em. Scott Ostler,, "Junkyard dog Raiders bite themselves on the foot," 20 Oct. 2019 But, the film’s emotional stakes come not from any big plot reveal, but from the performance of Emilia Clarke as Kate, the lovable screwup at the center of the tale. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Last Christmas Is a Welcome Dose of Sweetness," 6 Nov. 2019 In a screwup, the phosphorus exploded not over the target but over the men. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Adam Driver, the Original Man," 21 Oct. 2019 That’s the kind of screwup-trifecta that can wake a person up to this fact. Carolyn Hax, The Mercury News, "Carolyn Hax: She humiliated my boyfriend in public, and I’m paying the price," 18 Sep. 2019 That's the kind of screwup-trifecta that can wake a person up to this fact. Carolyn Hax, oregonlive, "Carolyn Hax: Friend needs to be called out for her bad temper," 18 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After screwing up his paperwork, Yang will not appear on the March 17 Ohio primary ballot,’s Andrew Tobias reports. cleveland, "Population estimates show Flyover states will lose influence following 2020: The Flyover," 6 Jan. 2020 Tanner Morgan and the Minnesota passing game have just enough to produce in the bad conditions, and the weather won’t help the Badgers stop screwing up. Pete Fiutak, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "College Football Betting Guide: 5 Best Big Game Bets - Week 14," 29 Nov. 2019 The underlying, nearly unjammable long-range technology could, however, lend itself to a lot of consumer-focused applications in the future—and the tech would do it without screwing up your Wi-Fi along the way. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "RF Chirp tech: Long distance, incredible penetration, low bandwidth," 18 Sep. 2019 That conflict is most fully expressed in the character of Jesse, who just can’t stop screwing up. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "What HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones gets right about evangelicals," 19 Aug. 2019 Regardless of who screwed up worse, though, this multi-player TOOTBLAN is a deserving winner of This Week’s Worst Play of the Week. Jon Tayler,, "The Home Run Derby Field Looks Loaded," 2 July 2019 If the world’s greatest dealmaker wants to make progress on the former without badly screwing up the latter, a change in tactics might be in order. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Time for Trump to Change His Trade Tactics," 10 June 2019 For the foreseeable future, autonomous features will mainly serve to stop us from screwing up. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Self-Driving Car Returns to Earth," 30 Nov. 2018 Among those perks, critics say: Not getting in trouble for screwing up. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "When Will Ivanka Trump Stop Getting Excused for Screwing Up?," 20 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'screwup.' 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 screwup


1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1625, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for screwup

Time Traveler

The first known use of screwup was in 1625

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Statistics for screwup

Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Screwup.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for screwup


How to pronounce screw up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of screwup

informal + disapproving
: a mistake or error
: a person who often makes mistakes especially about important things : someone who often screws up

More from Merriam-Webster on screwup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for screwup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with screwup

Comments on screwup

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


dull or mediocre

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