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- The modern sense of screwed originates in the mid-1600's with a sense of "to screw" as a means of "exerting pressure or coercion", probably in reference to instruments of torture (e.g. thumbscrews). It quickly gained a wider general sense of "in a bind; in unfortunate inescapable circumstances". When the verb "to screw" gained a sexual connotation in the early 1700's, it joined the long-lasting association of sexual imagery as a metaphor for domination, leading to screwed gaining synonyms like fucked and shagged. On a more general note, this is a prime example of the frequent tendency for verb participles to evolve into adjectives.
- The sense meaning "intoxicated" is from the early 1800's, and is associated with the term screwy, and the idiom to have a screw loose.
- (slang) beset with unfortunate circumstances that seem difficult or impossible to overcome; in imminent danger.
- They found out about our betrayal, so now we're screwed.
- (slang, UK) intoxicated.
beset with unfortunate circumstances
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Because the sexual act as a metaphor for domination is a frequent association for the term 'screwed', it is potentially offensive in polite circles.
- Simple past tense and past participle of screw.
- He screwed the boards together tightly.
- I got screwed at the swap meet yesterday.
- 1641, Richard Chambers (merchant), quoted in Hannis Taylor, The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution: An Historical Treatise, Part II: The After-Growth of the Constitution, H.O. Houghton & Company (1889), p. 274,
- […] merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement.