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

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR SCREWING UP

He looked at him, screwing up his eyes and showing his long teeth.

The esaul, screwing up his light-colored eyes, nodded approvingly.

“By the colour of the sea, sir,” replied the man, screwing up his eyes.

Screwing up the paper, and cramming it into his waistcoat-pocket.

Screwing up her eyebrows as well as her mouth, she tried again.

“To be sure it has,” said the skipper, screwing up his eyes.

“He may have all my share,” said Chris, screwing up his face.

I think so, uncle, said the lad doubtfully, screwing up his face.

And again he extolled his personal merit in screwing up the proposer.

She thought for a long time, screwing up her forehead and moving her lips.

WORD ORIGIN

"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.