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

Jim Parish jparish at SIUE.EDU
Wed Jul 21 00:01:37 UTC 2004

Gerald Cohen wrote:
> 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."

The phrase appears repeatedly in the book _The Right Stuff_; it is put
in the mouth of, among others, John Glenn. This would fit the attribution
to 1950s test pilots. I don't know how reliable a source the book is as
regards transcription of conversations, though.

Jim Parish

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