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

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Tue Jul 20 23:35:45 UTC 2004

I do not know "fuck the dog" meaning to fuck up or off, but in the
Louisville (KY) area in the 50's we had exclamatory "fuck a (big
brown) dog." It may, however, be unrelated to the item under
discussion; it seems semantically off.


>>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

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages
A-740 Wells Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 432-3099
Fax: (517) 432-2736
preston at msu.edu

More information about the Ads-l mailing list