Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Mr. Cuthcott turned to the room and let his screwed-up glance wander.

"Yes—I'm happy," said Julia, giving her odd, screwed-up smile.

Her head was thrown back, her eyes were full of a screwed-up courage.

Anxious, screwed-up faces looked on as the first little wheel stopped.

The third tug released the sack which burst open as it fell and bits of screwed-up paper were littered in all directions.

Herresford had watched her from under his screwed-up eyelids, and, as she commenced to read, he sighed irritably.

Nikolay began to speak, all the time looking good-naturedly with screwed-up eyes at the young peasant.

As he re-entered the house he descried in a corner of the hall, a screwed-up telegraph-envelope.

He clasped it, and then turned away; but on the threshold he paused, his screwed-up eyes fixed on her wistfully.

There was a fawning sound in the fisherman's voice, a fawning look in his small, screwed-up eyes.


"cylinder of wood or metal with a spiral ridge round it; hole in which a screw turns," c.1400, from Middle French escroue "nut, cylindrical socket, screwhole," of uncertain etymology; not found in other Romanic languages. Perhaps via Gallo-Romance *scroba or West Germanic *scruva from Vulgar Latin scrobis "screw-head groove," in classical Latin "ditch, trench," also "vagina" (Diez, though OED finds this "phonologically impossible").

Kluge, Watkins and others trace it to Latin scrofa "breeding sow," perhaps based on the shape of a pig's penis (cf. Portuguese porca, Spanish perca "a female screw," from Latin porca "sow"). Latin scrofa is literally "digger, rooter," from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)). A group of apparently cognate Germanic words (Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schruve, Dutch schroef, German Schraube, Swedish skrufva "screw") are said to be French loan-words.

Sense of "means of pressure or coercion" is from 1640s, probably in reference to instruments of torture (e.g. thumbscrews). Meaning "prison guard, warden" is 1812 in underworld slang, originally in reference to the key they carried (screw as slang for "key" attested from 1795). Slang meaning "an act of copulation" is recorded from 1929 (meaning "a prostitute" is attested from 1725). To have a screw loose "have a dangerous (usually mental) weakness" is recorded from 1810.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.