In Reply to: A screw loose posted by ESC on May 25, 2009 at 15:41:
: : "Had there not been something crooked about Lizzie -- a screw loose, as people say -- she would never been within his reach." The Eustace Diamonds, Anthony Trollope, 1873.
: : Given the "as people say", perhaps this is an early use of the common phrase? I see no entry for "a screw loose" and just a couple comment references, so thought you might like this, and/or be able to supply more history. Thanks for a great site.
: That's interesting. I wouldn't have thought the expression was that old.
Spirit of the English magazinesý - Page 140
There was evidently a screw loose in the machinery of his brain, and his memory
was out of order.
Common at least by 1800, US and UK.
Applied to individuals, countries and such,