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A screw loose

Posted by ESC on May 25, 2009 at 19:55

In Reply to: A screw loose posted by Joe on May 25, 2009 at 19:01:

: : : "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.

: Atheneum
: Spirit of the English magazinesý - Page 140
: 1824

: 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,

It is a very good phrase and I've had many occasions to use it.