screwball

(redirected from screwballs)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

screwball

1. noun In baseball, a pitched ball that swerves counter to the normal curve of a curveball, that is, in the direction of the side from which it was thrown. He caught the batter off guard with a screwball to strike him out in the final inning.
2. noun, slang A goofy, impulsive, zany, or eccentric person. My uncle has always been something of a screwball in the family, never really fitting in with the rest of us. A lot of people thinks she's just a screwball, but I actually think there's some genius in the unique ways she tackles problems.
3. adjective, slang Goofy, impulsive, zany, or eccentric. The actor became a household name for his iconic roles in a number of screwball comedies during the 1990s. We don't need another one of your screwball ideas, Tom.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

screwball

1. n. an eccentric person; a clown or a dunce. (Also a rude term of address.) Tom is such a screwball!
2. n. [in baseball] a (pitched) ball that does not travel in a straight line. Jim threw another screwball, but somehow the batter hit it.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Hubbell hung on for four more seasons, until he was 40, pitching on a reduced workload with inconsistent results and seldom using the screwball. His days as an elite pitcher were over.
Hubbell and everybody else blamed his injury on the screwball. Stories abound about his arm, so crooked that his left hand faced outward when he held it at his side, so crooked that he had to have his jackets tailored to make the left sleeve shorter than the right.
Right-hander Mike Marshall threw a screwball for fourteen seasons in the majors (Hubbell said, "Marshall had a pretty good one." (21)) and holds the record with 106 games pitched and 208 1/3 innings in relief in a single season.
Although the American Sports Medicine Institute has no data on that rare bird, the screwballer, Fleisig told me, "The screwball is harder [to throw] but I don't think it's more stressful." He acknowledges it may hurt more than throwing a curveball--that's why most people think it's more damaging--but pain does not necessarily equal injury.
Hubbell continued to believe that the screwball ruined his arm.
The screwball's time has probably passed, though it never really came.
A rough but sufficiently accurate way of putting it might suggest that the romantic comedy is primarily about the construction of the ideal romantic couple, while the screwball comedy is primarily about liberation (and the couple it constructs is often very short of the romantic ideal--see, for example, Bringing up Baby or The Lady Eve--or Too Many Husbands, which audaciously constructs a threesome): the overthrow of social convention, of bourgeois notions of respectability, of traditional gender roles (the resolution of My Best Friend's Wedding is already clearly in view).
Screwball comedies are no longer concerned with women's empowerment, following the widespread social assumption that women don't need to be empowered any more, they've won all their battles and they're empowered quite sufficiently, thank you.
Yet, if the great underlying subject of classic screwball has now been declared officially obsolete by the current capitalist/patriarchal conspiracy, the genre itself has, by a process of mutation, at its best replaced it with other concerns apparently distinct from it yet clearly relevant to it: the assault on the traditional bastions of marriage, family, biological parentage, sexuality and gender.
Our civilization has come a long way since the great days of screwball: a long way toward potential and perhaps imminent cataclysm: we have had World War II, the threat of nuclear annihilation, the devastation of the environment by the joint (if opposed) forces of advanced capitalism and Soviet-style Communist Totalitarianism, with the apparently insatiable greed of those who believe that the possession of vast hoards of money by a few justifies the social misery of millions and the possible end of life on the planet.
Never screwball, and by its end no longer even a comedy, it has an archetypal screwball premise and narrative structure: wife, after tender and affectionate early morning scene with husband, sees him off to his office, then finds (while doing the housework) a love note signed `Sandy' under the bed.
My Best Friend's Wedding is obviously more lightweight, truer to the screwball spirit.
As with The Daytrippers, it is a simple matter to relate My Best Friend's Wedding to classic screwball: indeed, it directly evokes Bringing up Baby, which was also about a woman determined at all costs to prevent a man from marrying his fiancee within a short period of time.