screwball

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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.

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hartnett told Hubbell, "We'll waste everything except the screwball.
When I threw the screwball I came right over the top, and I turned my arm clear over and let the ball come out of the back of my hand.
The screwball is the pitcher's equalizer against the platoon advantage, because a left-hander's screwball breaks away from right-handed batters.
Think of it: Nobody in the majors throws the screwball anymore because no one teaches it anymore.
Because I consider the screwball to be the best pitch in baseball.
The most extreme instance--hence the closest of all the screwballs to `'crazy'--is of course Bringing up Baby, singlemindedly concerned with Cary Grant's liberation at the merciless hands of Katharine Hepburn, and culminating with faultless logic in that still potent image of the overthrow of patriarchy, the collapse of the dinosaur skeleton into 'nothing but a heap of old bones', to misquote Hepburn from earlier in the film.
It is one of the great American comedies, comparable in its perfection with the finest `classic' screwballs, perfectly written, perfectly cast, perfectly acted, perfectly directed.