n. & v.
n. 1 a thin cylinder or cone with a spiral ridge or thread running round the outside (male screw) or the inside (female screw). 2 (in full wood-screw) a metal male screw with a slotted head and a sharp point for fastening things, esp. in carpentry, by being rotated to form a thread in wood etc. 3 (in full screw-bolt) a metal male screw with a blunt end on which a nut is threaded to bolt things together. 4 a wooden or metal straight screw used to exert pressure. 5 (in sing. or pl.) an instrument of torture acting in this way. 6 (in full screw-propeller) a form of propeller with twisted blades acting like a screw on the water or air. 7 one turn of a screw. 8 (foll. by of) Brit. a small twisted-up paper (of tobacco etc.). 9 Brit. (in billiards etc.) an oblique curling motion of the ball. 10 sl. a prison warder. 11 Brit. sl. an amount of salary or wages. 12 coarse sl. a an act of sexual intercourse. b a partner in this. °Usually considered a taboo use. 13 sl. a mean or miserly person. 14 sl. a worn-out horse.
v. 1 tr. fasten or tighten with a screw or screws. 2 tr. turn (a screw). 3 intr. twist or turn round like a screw. 4 intr. (of a ball etc.) swerve. 5 tr. a put psychological etc. pressure on to achieve an end. b oppress. 6 tr. (foll. by out of) extort (consent, money, etc.) from (a person). 7 tr. (also absol.) coarse sl. have sexual intercourse with. °Usually considered a taboo use. 8 intr. (of a rolling ball, or of a person etc.) take a curling course; swerve. 9 intr. (often foll. by up) make tenser or more efficient. have one's head screwed on the right way colloq. have common sense. have a screw loose colloq. be slightly crazy. put the screws on colloq. exert pressure, esp. to extort or intimidate. screw cap = screw top. screw-coupling a female screw with threads at both ends for joining lengths of pipes or rods. screw eye a screw with a loop for passing cord etc. through instead of a slotted head. screw gear an endless screw with a cog-wheel or pinion. screw hook a hook to hang things on, with a screw point for fastening it. screw-jack a vehicle jack (see JACK(1)) worked by a screw device. screw pine any plant of the genus Pandanus, with its leaves arranged spirally and resembling those of a pineapple. screw-plate a steel plate with threaded holes for making male screws. screw-tap a tool for making female screws. screw top (also (with hyphen) attrib.) a cap or lid that can be screwed on to a bottle, jar, etc. screw up 1 contract or contort (one's face etc.). 2 contract and crush into a tight mass (a piece of paper etc.). 3 summon up (one's courage etc.). 4 sl. a bungle or mismanage. b spoil or ruin (an event, opportunity, etc.). screw-up n. sl. a bungle, muddle, or mess. screw valve a stopcock opened and shut by a screw. screwable adj. screwer n.
[ ME f. OF escroue female screw, nut, f. L scrofa sow ]