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

Definition of screwup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who screws up
2 : botch, blunder

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
2a : bungle, botch
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 Eventually Nance pointed to Okoro on the bench and then Nance tapped his own chest, admitting his screwup. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ frustration builds in fourth straight loss to Miami Heat, 113-98," 17 Mar. 2021 Much like Harold and Jean are worried that Kim is a bad influence on their daughter, Mr. Kowchevski is concerned that Daniel, the persistent screwup, is going to further drag down his former star mathlete. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, "Freaks and Geeks Finally Stretches Daniel’s Charm to Its Breaking Point," 4 Feb. 2021 There’d been some kind of screwup with the chow load. Jeff Winkler, The Atlantic, "The Art of Cooking While Everything Burns," 30 Dec. 2020 Staged mostly in dank basements and empty parking lots, the film follows Scott (Davidson), a screwup in his mid-20s with vague aspirations of being a tattoo artist and who still lives with his mother (Marisa Tomei). David Sims, The Atlantic, "Judd Apatow Is Okay With Not Being Funny," 11 June 2020 The story of a 1917 flu pandemic may well go down as a Trump classic, a pointless and unnecessary screwup that is also very telling about the President. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Trump and the 1917 Pandemic That Wasn’t," 30 Apr. 2020 The county question arises from yet another screwup by county government, the failure to pay more than 1,000 bills. cleveland, "Is Cuyahoga County really this inept, or is the structure of the government we designed to blame: Bonus episode of This Week in the CLE," 29 Feb. 2020 In the season 4 finale of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the titular super-screwups publicly defeated the demon Neron, thus erasing the dystopian future from whence cynical hacktivist Zari (Tala Ashe) initially came. Chancellor Agard,, "DC's Legends of Tomorrow boss finally reveals how Zari has changed in season 5," 22 Jan. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Newsom does have a tendency to overpromise and screw up, restocking his critics’ ammo drawer. Los Angeles Times, "Column: How trying to recall Newsom could backfire on California Republicans," 18 Mar. 2021 Then come foul up, goof up, gum up, mess up, muck up, screw up and synonymous unprintables. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Should we give up on our uppity English language?," 6 Mar. 2021 The show’s faith in human beings — its acknowledgment of the many ways people screw up while remaining worthy of mercy — is a reminder of what compassion looks like in a time notably short on it. Globe Staff,, "Forget your troubles, c’mon get happy," 13 Jan. 2021 When Judi gets sick with cancer, the two of them screw up the courage to struggle to love and search for the truth that the novel suggests exists, though disorderly, in all great loves. Globe Staff,, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 With a seemingly infinite number of choices in the aftermarket, there are more ways to screw up a car than improve it. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, "Tested: BFP 2019 Ford Mustang GT Delivers Budget Performance," 23 Dec. 2020 Here’s hoping the Cowboys don’t screw up their draft rating too much. Dallas News, "Expert predictions for Cowboys-Bengals: Can Dallas’ defense answer the bell on a short week?," 12 Dec. 2020 For somehow managing to screw up what should be a very good thing. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Finding time to give thanks, even in 2020," 25 Nov. 2020 Boulware was worried that the White House might release the data and screw up his chances with the journal. Adam Rogers, Wired, "The Strange and Twisted Tale of Hydroxychloroquine," 11 Nov. 2020

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

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The first known use of screwup was in 1625

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Statistics for screwup

Last Updated

19 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Screwup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for screwup



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

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