Odd expression: "screw the pooch" = get things all fouled up

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue Jul 20 23:24:31 UTC 2004

>Yesterday I watched an episode of "Law on Order" and was surprised to
>hear one of the detectives refer to someone who "screwed the pooch",
>i.e., got something all fouled up. I had never come across this
>expression before but find it on Google, e.g. "screwed the pooch on
>Iraqi intelligence."

I believe this is a humorous alteration or partial euphemism for "f*ck the
dog". It has exactly the same two meanings, viz. (1) "goof off", (2) "goof up".

See HDAS "fuck the dog", under "dog".

There are other versions, e.g., "screw the mutt" and particularly the
sophomoric "intercourse the canine".

"Screw the pooch" has become popular in recent years, I think. I remember
it being used in the "goof up" sense in the movie "True Lies" (Gov.
Arnold's best IMHO).

-- Doug Wilson

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