Evolving slang. Just heard of it today, but it's been around for a couple years, famously in a statement of Clarissa Ward, famous journalist at CBS. She meant, it appears, 'to greatly mess up a situation'. Have other AE speakers heard it? Has it crossed the pond? Note that the original expression, referring to a dog, meant something rather different (being lazy, avoiding work, etc.). ================== A Romenesko reader writes: “It’s a shame that the CBS-TV cameras didn’t show the look on Bob Schieffer’s ever-dignified face when two of his ‘Face the Nation’ panelists had this exchange on Sunday, Dec. 15 ”: Radhika Jones, executive editor, Time magazine: “But isn’t it still the case that it’s extremely hard to know who to support in Syria?” Clarissa Ward, CBS News foreign correspondent: “Of course, and we have royally screwed the pooch on that front.” » Did she really say that on ‘Face the Nation’!? JIMROMENESKO.COM ========= History of the expression: A Reporter Said "Screw the Pooch" on Face the Nation. Where Does That Phrase Come From? We almost certainly owe the popularity of the expression to Tom Wolfe's 1979 book The Right Stuff, which is about the Mercury space program, and its 1983 film adaptation. In the movie, when Gus Grissom (played by Fred Ward) is about to become the second American in space, his fellow astronaut Gordon Cooper (Dennis Quaid) presciently warns him, "Just make sure you don't screw the pooch, Gus."