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A corkscrew

From cork +‎ screw.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkɔːk.skɹuː/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkɔɹk.skɹu/
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corkscrew (plural corkscrews)

  1. An implement for opening bottles that are sealed by a cork. Sometimes specifically such an implement that includes a screw-shaped part, or worm.
    I opened the wine with a corkscrew.
    • 1720, Nicholas Amhurst, “The Bottle-Scrue”, in Poems on Several Occasions, page 113:
      There stood presented to his sight, Or seem'd to stand, the God of wine, [] This hand a Cork-scrue did contain, And that a Bottle of Champaign.
    • 1999, James Lighthill, “Biofluiddynamics: A Survey”, in Contemporary Mathematics, volume 141, page 11:
      A corkscrew is designed so that when it is turned it creates effectively a helical undulation pushing it into the cork, whereas rotation in the opposite sense pulls it out.
    • 2006, Costas Katsigris, Chris Thomas, The Bar and Beverage Book, 4th edition, page 152:
      A two-prong or ah-so corkscrew with sheath.
  2. The screw-shaped worm of a typical corkscrew.
    • 1898, Herbert Spencer, First Principles of a New System of Philosophy[1]:
      A bubble rising rapidly in water describes a spiral closely resembling a corkscrew.
  3. (boxing, martial arts) A type of sharp, twisting punch, often one thrown close and from the side.
    • 2002, Darin Strauss, The Real McCoy[2], →ISBN, page 42:
      [] the immovable McCoy let fly his most miraculous punch of the evening, of his lives, a world-beater of a right corkscrew, a punch years in the windup []
  4. (amusement rides) A type of inversion used in roller coasters.
    • 1987 September, Tim Cole, “Killer Coasters”, in Popular Mechanics[3], page 56:
      A corkscrew has a 90° turn just prior to the loop and a 90° turn just afterward.





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corkscrew (not comparable)

  1. Having the tightly winding shape of a corkscrew.
    Synonym: helical
    • 1841, John Ruskin, chapter I, in The King of the Golden River:
      Then the old gentleman spun himself round with velocity in the opposite direction, continued to spin until his long cloak was all wound neatly about him, clapped his cap on his head, very much on one side (for it could not stand upright without going through the ceiling), gave an additional twist to his corkscrew mustaches, and replied with perfect coolness.
    • 1885, Rudyard Kipling, The City of Dreadful Night:
      All the heat of a decade of fierce Indian summers is stored in the pitch-black, polished walls of the corkscrew staircase.
    • 1980, “Spring Collection”, in New Clear Days, performed by The Vapors:
      Wide eyes and corkscrew hair / Tied with lace you found somewhere



corkscrew (third-person singular simple present corkscrews, present participle corkscrewing, simple past and past participle corkscrewed)

  1. (intransitive) To wind or twist in the manner of a corkscrew; to move with much horizontal and vertical shifting.
    • 1832, Charles Dickens, chapter 35, in The Pickwick Papers:
      Into the tea–room Mr. Pickwick turned; and catching sight of him, Mr. Bantam corkscrewed his way through the crowd and welcomed him with ecstasy.
    • 1916, John Buchan, chapter 10, in Greenmantle:
      The street corkscrewed endlessly. Sometimes it seemed to stop; then it found a hole in the opposing masonry and edged its way in.
    • 1960, Lobsang Rampa, chapter 5, in The Rampa Story:
      Far off to starboard an Atlantic liner, all lights blazing, came towards us, corkscrewing with a motion which must have left the passengers unhappy.
  2. (transitive) To cause something to twist or move in a spiral path or shape.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, chapter 134, in Moby-Dick:
      Caught and twisted—corkscrewed in the mazes of the line, loose harpoons and lances, with all their bristling barbs and points, came flashing and dripping up to the chocks in the bows of Ahab’s boat.
    • 2006, Rocky Raab, Baggy Zero Four[4], page 155:
      Rusty corkscrewed the plane back down again, but instead of mashing the throttles to the wall, he pulled them to idle.
    • 2007, Mike Monahan, Barracuda[5], page 107:
      Soon he was corkscrewed into place, suspended from the ceiling in an impossible maze of unforgiving circuitry.
  3. (transitive, informal) To extract information or consent from someone.
    • 1852, Charles Dickens, chapter 55, in Bleak House:
      I strongly suspect (from what Small has dropped, and from what we have corkscrewed out of him) that those letters I was to have brought to your ladyship were not destroyed when I supposed they were.
    • 1922, James Thomas Heflin, Hearings Before the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry[6], page 460:
      Yes, I believe you did after it was corkscrewed out of you, but I got the impression at the outset that you were, just as willing to let it stand there.


  • (move in a corkscrew path): spiral