The folks over at Answers.com define "Screw the Pooch" as:
- To make a major mistake, particularly one that will have serious ramifications.
The folks over at allwords.com define "Screw the Pooch" as:
- To screw up; to fail in dramatic and ignominious fashion
verb (third-person singular simple present screws the pooch, present participle screwing the pooch, simple past screwed the pooch, past participle screwed the pooch)
The folks over at wiktionary define "Screw the Pooch" as:
- to screw up; to fail in dramatic and ignominious fashion
The term was first documented in the early "Mercury" days of the US space program. It came there from a Yale graduate named John Rawlings who helped design the astronauts' space suits. The phrase is actually a bastardisation of an earlier, more vulgar and direct term which was slang for doing something very much the wrong way, as in "you are fucking the dog!" At Yale a friend of Rawlings', the radio DJ Jack May (a.k.a. "Candied Yam Jackson") amended this term to "screwing the pooch" which was simultaneously less vulgar and more pleasing to the ear.
The term, however, did not enter the popular lexicon until Tom Wolfe used it in his book about the space program, The Right Stuff, where is was used to describe a supposed mistake by astronaut Gus Grissom.
The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English defines Screw the Pooch" as:
- to bungle or ruin something
Who is "scewing the pooch" in America today? Hmmmm. Who could it be?