screwsman vs screwman

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screwsman vs screwman

Post by tony h » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:49 am

Looking up a misremembered word the other day , I left out the second "s".

SCREWMAN
a worker who packs bales of cotton into a cargo ship, esp. by means of a jack screw.

SCREWSMAN
A thief who picks locks, or makes and uses false keys; (more generally) a burglar
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I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: screwsman vs screwman

Post by trolley » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:06 pm

I did not know that "screw" was an old slang term for key...I was never quite satisfied with the usual explanation of why prison guards are referred to as "screws"...from the torture device known as thumb-screws or from some strange useless apparatus the prisoners were made to crank as a form of punishment. Calling a jailor or turnkey a "screw" makes a lot more sense, now.
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