screw up

screw up (screwed-up)


  • slang depicting that a mistake was made
  • very puzzled, confused or worried
  • to ruin something
  • to make something into a smaller shape by compacting it
  • to mentally prepare yourself for something
  • to become mentally confused or neurotic
  • to damage or injure yourself


  • crumple
  • twist
  • distort
  • contort
  • crinkle
  • scrunch
  • crunch

Example Sentences

  1. I really screwed up this time. My wife will never forgive me for forgetting her birthday.
  2. You screwed up when you called your boss by the wrong name.
  3. I screwed up the cake when I forgot to add eggs to it.
  4. He screwed up the television by pressing random buttons on the remote.
  5. Mom, Johnnyscrewed up my painting and threw it in the fire!
  6. He needs toscrew up the courage to ask her out.
  7. Getting divorced has really screwed him up.
  8. I screwed up my knee when I tripped over that brick last weekend.


This is a relatively new term and has only gained popularity since the mid-1900s. One of the first recorded uses of the phrase meaning "to blunder" can be traced to 1942.

It has a few "dirty" connotations that has been around since the 1700s. However, there is no definitive source that tells us where the current phrase originated from.

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