screw up

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See also: screw-up and screwup



screw up (third-person singular simple present screws up, present participle screwing up, simple past and past participle screwed up)

  1. (transitive) To tighten or secure with screws.
  2. (transitive) To raise (rent, fees, etc.) to extortionate levels.
    • 1942: As far as was possible he kept his subjects as mindless fighting-cocks, troops that could be promised to one power if there was a chance of screwing up another power to a bugger subsidy. — Rebecca West. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Canongate 2006, p. 1052)
  3. (transitive) To raise or summon up.
    trying to screw up enough courage to ask her out
  4. (transitive) To twist into a contorted state.
    The baby screwed up his face and began to bawl.
  5. (transitive, dated) To squint.
    • 1913, D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, chapter 8
      As they were finishing breakfast came the postman with a letter from Derby. Mrs. Morel screwed up her eyes to look at the address.
    • 1919, Richard Aldington, A Village
      [...] Hands deep in pockets, head aslant,
      And eyes screwed up against the light [...]
  6. (transitive, colloquial) To make a mess of; to ruin.
  7. (intransitive, colloquial) To blunder; to make a mistake.



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