From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishscrew up phrasal verb1 informalDO BADLY to make a bad mistake or do something very stupid SYN mess up You’d better not screw up this time.2 screw something ↔ up informalSPOIL to spoil something by doing something stupid SYN mess something up She realized that she had screwed up her life.3 screw up your eyes/faceHBH to move the muscles in your face in a way that makes your eyes seem narrow He screwed up his eyes against the bright light. Her face was screwed up with pain.4 screw somebody ↔ up informalSAD/UNHAPPYCONFUSED to make someone feel very unhappy, confused, or upset so that they have emotional problems for a long time SYN mess somebody up It really screwed her up when her mother died. → screwed up5 screw up the/enough courage to do something (also screw up your courage to do something)BRAVE to be brave enough to do something you are very nervous about I finally screwed up enough courage to talk to her. → screw→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusscrew up• I can't trust you to do anything right can I? You always manage to screw things up.• I was so nervous about the driving test that I screwed the whole thing up.• My audition was going really well until I screwed the last part up.• Someone screwed up and what was supposed to be a confidential email was copies to everyone in the company.• There was no way he was going to allow her to screw up his plans.• He screwed his handkerchief up into a ball and put it in his pocket.• Sally screwed up the letter she was writing and threw it into the wastebasket.• If you screw up too many times, they'll kick you off the team.screw up your eyes/face• He screwed up his eyes against the light and Jurnet saw the gipsy in him.• He screwed up his eyes and put his hands over his ears.• She screwed up her face and whispered: you're so revoltingly fat you disgusting baboon.• He screwed up his face as the hot water from the kitchen tap scalded his hand.• He screwed up his face at the appalling stench but made no move to draw back.• Blake screwed up his eyes, trying to peer through the fog.screw up the/enough courage to do something• But Janice's fear was so great she struggled through two more migraines before screwing up enough courage to try the injection.• I eventually screwed up the courage to write to Richardson, pretending to be a drama student wanting advice.