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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “The reference given does not support most of the claims.”) From screw +‎ -ed.

  • The modern sense of screwed originates in the mid-1600s with a sense of to screw as a means of "exerting pressure or coercion", probably in reference to instruments of torture (e.g. thumbscrews).[1] It quickly gained a wider general sense of "in a bind; in unfortunate inescapable circumstances". When the verb screw gained a sexual connotation in the early 1700s,[2] 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 1800s, and is associated with the term screwy, and the idiom to have a screw loose.[1]


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːd


screwed (comparative more screwed, superlative most screwed)

  1. (slang) fucked, 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.
  2. (slang, Britain) intoxicated.

Usage notes[edit]


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

Because the sexual act as a metaphor for domination is a frequent association for the term 'screwed', it is potentially offensive in polite circles.



  1. 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.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “screw”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “screw”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.