put the screws (on/to) somebody

Meaning(s)

1. use force or put pressure on somebody to get them to do what you want

Popularity

High

Professional

High

Social

Check Icon How to Memorize

the bank are putting the screws on me

Check Icon Analysis

The idiom 'to put the screws on to somebody' comes from the torture device of thumbscrews. When you 'put the screws on someone' it means to put pressure on someone or use the threat of force to coerce someone into doing what do you want.

Check Icon Social Examples (Advance)

  1. The criminal put the screws on the witness to make sure he didn't talk to the police.
  2. My family put the screws on me to spend the holidays with them. 

Check Icon Professional Examples (Advance)

  1. If the supplier sends us another late shipment, our lawyers will put the screws to them.
  2. Brian's coffee shop is struggling, and now his creditors are putting the screws on him.

Check Icon Further Suggestions

leverage coerce

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