Definition of a turn of the screw in English:

a turn of the screw

phrase

informal
  • An additional degree of pressure or hardship added to a situation that is already extremely difficult to bear.

    ‘the strategy was a further turn of the screw for a community already racked by paramilitary violence’
    • ‘Forced to return to her pitiably poor parents, she is finally forced into prostitution and each new event in her despairing life is a turn of the screw.’
    • ‘It's yet more turns of the propaganda screw, and no-one really knows what they're up to.’
    • ‘At first glance this might seem like a mere turn of the screw in a protracted legal process.’
    • ‘The answer is likely to depend on the political turn of the screw.’
    • ‘Although a wonderful turn of the screw to contemplate, it is not the argumentative tactic that I would promote.’
    • ‘His forced conversion, Antonio's final turn of the screw, makes a hilarious ending, Shylock's soul is saved.’
    • ‘Once the cap has been established, it is tightened over subsequent years as the public becomes inured to the last turn of the screw.’
    • ‘With that kind of pricing headroom, the company has several turns of the screw available against its struggling digital music competitors.’