The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Screw \Screw\ (skr[udd]), n. [OE. scrue, OF. escroue, escroe,
female screw, F. ['e]crou, L. scrobis a ditch, trench, in
LL., the hole made by swine in rooting; cf. D. schroef a
screw, G. schraube, Icel. skr[=u]fa.]
1. A cylinder, or a cylindrical perforation, having a
continuous rib, called the thread, winding round it
spirally at a constant inclination, so as to leave a
continuous spiral groove between one turn and the next, --
used chiefly for producing, when revolved, motion or
pressure in the direction of its axis, by the sliding of
the threads of the cylinder in the grooves between the
threads of the perforation adapted to it, the former being
distinguished as the external, or male screw, or, more
usually the screw; the latter as the internal, or female
screw, or, more usually, the nut.
Note: The screw, as a mechanical power, is a modification of
the inclined plane, and may be regarded as a
right-angled triangle wrapped round a cylinder, the
hypotenuse of the marking the spiral thread of the
screw, its base equaling the circumference of the
cylinder, and its height the pitch of the thread.
2. Specifically, a kind of nail with a spiral thread and a
head with a nick to receive the end of the screw-driver.
Screws are much used to hold together pieces of wood or to
fasten something; -- called also wood screws, and screw
nails. See also Screw bolt, below.
3. Anything shaped or acting like a screw; esp., a form of
wheel for propelling steam vessels. It is placed at the
stern, and furnished with blades having helicoidal
surfaces to act against the water in the manner of a
screw. See Screw propeller, below.
4. A steam vesel propelled by a screw instead of wheels; a
screw steamer; a propeller.
5. An extortioner; a sharp bargainer; a skinflint; a niggard.
6. An instructor who examines with great or unnecessary
severity; also, a searching or strict examination of a
student by an instructor. [Cant, American Colleges]
7. A small packet of tobacco. [Slang] --Mayhew.
8. An unsound or worn-out horse, useful as a hack, and
commonly of good appearance. --Ld. Lytton.
9. (Math.) A straight line in space with which a definite
linear magnitude termed the pitch is associated (cf. 5th
(b) ). It is used to express the displacement of a rigid
body, which may always be made to consist of a
rotation about an axis combined with a translation
parallel to that axis.
10. (Zool.) An amphipod crustacean; as, the skeleton screw
(Caprella). See Sand screw, under Sand.
Archimedes screw, Compound screw, Foot screw, etc. See
under Archimedes, Compound, Foot, etc.
A screw loose, something out of order, so that work is not
done smoothly; as, there is a screw loose somewhere. --H.
Endless screw, or perpetual screw, a screw used to give
motion to a toothed wheel by the action of its threads
between the teeth of the wheel; -- called also a worm.
Lag screw. See under Lag.
Micrometer screw, a screw with fine threads, used for the
measurement of very small spaces.
Right and left screw, a screw having threads upon the
opposite ends which wind in opposite directions.
Screw alley. See Shaft alley, under Shaft.
Screw bean. (Bot.)
(a) The curious spirally coiled pod of a leguminous tree
(Prosopis pubescens) growing from Texas to
California. It is used for fodder, and ground into
meal by the Indians.
(b) The tree itself. Its heavy hard wood is used for
fuel, for fencing, and for railroad ties.
Screw bolt, a bolt having a screw thread on its shank, in
distinction from a key bolt. See 1st Bolt, 3.
Screw box, a device, resembling a die, for cutting the
thread on a wooden screw.
Screw dock. See under Dock.
Screw engine, a marine engine for driving a screw
Screw gear. See Spiral gear, under Spiral.
Screw jack. Same as Jackscrew.
Screw key, a wrench for turning a screw or nut; a spanner
(a) One of a series of machines employed in the
manufacture of wood screws.
(b) A machine tool resembling a lathe, having a number of
cutting tools that can be caused to act on the work
successively, for making screws and other turned
pieces from metal rods.
Screw pine (Bot.), any plant of the endogenous genus
Pandanus, of which there are about fifty species,
natives of tropical lands from Africa to Polynesia; --
named from the spiral arrangement of the pineapple-like
Screw plate, a device for cutting threads on small screws,
consisting of a thin steel plate having a series of
perforations with internal screws forming dies.
Screw press, a press in which pressure is exerted by means
of a screw.
Screw propeller, a screw or spiral bladed wheel, used in
the propulsion of steam vessels; also, a steam vessel
propelled by a screw.
Screw shell (Zool.), a long, slender, spiral gastropod
shell, especially of the genus Turritella and allied
genera. See Turritella.
Screw steamer, a steamship propelled by a screw.
Screw thread, the spiral rib which forms a screw.
Screw stone (Paleon.), the fossil stem of an encrinite.
Screw tree (Bot.), any plant of the genus Helicteres,
consisting of about thirty species of tropical shrubs,
with simple leaves and spirally twisted, five-celled
capsules; -- also called twisted-horn, and twisty.
Screw valve, a stop valve which is opened or closed by a
Screw worm (Zool.), the larva of an American fly
(Compsomyia macellaria), allied to the blowflies, which
sometimes deposits its eggs in the nostrils, or about
wounds, in man and other animals, with fatal results.
(a) A wrench for turning a screw.
(b) A wrench with an adjustable jaw that is moved by a
To put the screws on or To put the screw on, to use
pressure upon, as for the purpose of extortion; to coerce.
To put under the screw or To put under the screws, to
subject to pressure; to force.
Wood screw, a metal screw with a sharp thread of coarse
pitch, adapted to holding fast in wood. See Illust. of
Wood screw, under Wood.