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Screw

screw (a) 1404 scrwe: cylinder with a spiral groove or ridge, screw; 1497, skrewe.

Evidently borrowed from Middle French escroue nut, cylindrical socket, hole in which a screw turns. Traces from Gallo-Romance; but even earlier, scroba, altered from Latin scrobis hole.

Germanic forms apparently derived through Low German schruve from Old French. The spelling with -ew was influenced by dew, flew, etc. The figure tive sense of a means of pressure or coercion is found in English in 1648-49. v. to turn as one turns a screw. twist. 1599, in Ben Jonson's Every Man in His Humour, from the noun.

Sources: W L Goodman, The History of Woodworking Tools, London: Bell, 1966; Robert K Barnhart, ed., The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology New York: H W Wilson, 1988; Witold Rybczynski, One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw, 2000; M Shayt, "One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw", Technology and Culture 2001.