have a screw loose

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have a screw loose

To be or seem particularly silly, eccentric, crazy, or mentally unstable. (Also worded as "have a loose screw.") That guy on the corner must have a screw loose or something, because he's been standing out there yelling obscenities at passersby all morning. My old uncle Pete has a few screws loose, but he's a really nice guy. What's the matter with you? Do you have a screw loose, or what?
See also: have, loose, screw

have a screw loose

 and have a loose screw; have got a screw loose
Inf. Fig. to be silly or eccentric. He's sort of strange. I think he's got a loose screw. Yes, he has a screw loose somewhere. He wears a heavy jacket in the middle of summer.
See also: have, loose, screw

have a screw loose

Be mentally unstable or eccentric, as in Anyone who approves that purchase must have a screw loose. This term likens a mental weakness to a machine in which a part is not securely fastened. An antonym is have one's head screwed on right; for example, She's very capable; she has her head screwed on right. [Slang; early 1800s]
See also: have, loose, screw

have a screw loose

INFORMAL
If someone has a screw loose, they are crazy. He must have a screw loose, spending that sort of money on a holiday! She looked at me as if I had a screw loose. Note: The image is of a piece of machinery that needs to be adjusted or repaired.
See also: have, loose, screw

have a screw loose

be slightly eccentric or mentally disturbed. informal
See also: have, loose, screw

have a ˈscrew loose

be slightly crazy: He dresses his cats up in little coats for the winter. Sometimes I think he must have a screw loose. OPPOSITE: have your head screwed on (the right way)
See also: have, loose, screw

have a screw loose

and have a loose screw
tv. to be silly or eccentric. (Have got can replace have.) He’s sort of strange. I think he’s got a loose screw. You’re talking like you’ve got a screw loose or something.
See also: have, loose, screw

have a screw loose

Slang
To behave in an eccentric or mentally deranged manner.
See also: have, loose, screw
References in classic literature ?
That's neither here nor there, though; but Lidia--I'm very fond of her, but she has a screw loose somewhere--has lost her heart to this Landau now, and nothing is settled now in her house or Alexey Alexandrovitch's without him, and so your sister's fate is now in the hands of Landau, alias Count Bezzubov.
If there's a screw loose in a heavenly body, that's philosophy; and if there's screw loose in a earthly body, that's philosophy too; or it may be that sometimes there's a little metaphysics in it, but that's not often.
Ever since we got together, I've been casting about to find out what's wrong with you, to locate a screw loose somewhere, but I'll be danged if I've succeeded.
The man who doesn't believe in ROBINSON CRUSOE, after THAT, is a man with a screw loose in his understanding, or a man lost in the mist of his own self-conceit
He knew, no doubt, that there was some screw loose, but he was not in our secrets.
An uncommonly ill-looking fellow, in a close brown wig, and a plum-coloured suit, wearing a very large sword, and boots up to his hips, belonged to the party; and when he sat himself down next to the young lady, who shrank into a corner at his approach, my uncle was confirmed in his original impression that something dark and mysterious was going forward, or, as he always said himself, that "there was a screw loose somewhere.
With these words he carried it off, and carried himself off too: merely stopping at the door, to take the flowers and favours from his horse's head, and to kick that animal once, in the ribs, as a means of informing him that there was a screw loose in his arrangements.
Klitschko (right) claims Tyson has a screw loose and joked he will tighten it in the ring as part of his "therapy" for the unbeaten challenger.
Klitschko claims Tyson has a screw loose and has joked he will tighten it in the ring as part of his "therapy" for the unbeaten challenger.
Chris Johnston: I have a bit of a screw loose and ride everywhere around Coventry including the ring road, A45 and A46 and it's not too bad if you follow the rules of the road i.
Church and Walnut streets, screw loose on park sign.
Whereas the screw in my sofa was too tight, the system itself has a screw loose.
So you haven't got a screw loose if you think there is something a little curious about these images of Tower Bridge in London, Rome's Colosseum and Sanatorini in Greece, among others.
I confess that having too many friends who've been injured, I think you have to have a screw loose even to go skiing on your holidays.
Referring to a picture showing a young male protester bleeding from a cut near his eye following clashes with police, the email tells BSP officials to claim he aprobably had a screw loose.