Definition of square in US English:



  • 1A plane figure with four equal straight sides and four right angles.

    • ‘He arranges thin rectangles, squares, triangles and trapezoids in complex patterns on the wall.’
    • ‘We all think of a line segment as being one-dimensional, a square two-dimensional and a cube three-dimensional, but what does this really mean?’
    • ‘Choosing a darker hue, such as violet, I began by drawing three squares.’
    • ‘Its flag has alternating red-and-white stripes with a dark blue square in the upper-right corner which contains a star.’
    • ‘The 2 X 0.5 m board was divided into four equal sections, with each section divided into 25 squares of equal size.’
    • ‘Circles, squares or collages of geometric shapes executed in bright acrylic colours float freely on the surface of his paintings.’
    • ‘They come in two shapes, either a square or a hexagon.’
    • ‘Geometric shapes originate from the square, circle or triangle and organic shapes are free-flowing shapes found in nature.’
    • ‘In addition to the traditional graphics such as triangle, square and circle, designers adopted a lot of irregular patterns.’
    • ‘He was wearing a woollen cap and a fleece jacket with white squares on either side of the zip.’
    • ‘Every circle was inscribed inside a square such that the sides of the circle just touched the sides of the square.’
    • ‘Triangles, squares and hexagons create their own proportions and systems.’
    • ‘As the lessons carried on, Heather began drawing small squares on her paper.’
    • ‘The problem of squaring the circle, namely constructing a square with the same area as a given circle using ruler and compasses alone, had been one of the classical problems of Greek mathematics.’
    • ‘The Suprematists took the art of painting and porcelain making to the ultimate extreme of complete abstraction, using the geometrical forms of the square, circle and cross.’
    • ‘In all the pieces, the 12 squares are subdivided into four equal sections by painted lines that stop short of the middle.’
    • ‘Because the square and pentagon have equal areas, they are isoparametric.’
    • ‘Since 1800 B.C. mathematicians have worked on the problem of constructing a square equal in area to that of a given circle.’
    • ‘Geometric designs are created by piecing or patching together triangles, squares and rectangles.’
    • ‘Needlework is an integral part of this craft and motifs are in basic geometric combinations - squares, triangles and diamonds, says Naveen Shah.’
    • ‘His digital prints are slightly larger than a record cover, but just as square, and divided into a further four squares, each containing a different image.’
    1. 1.1 A thing having the shape of four equal straight sides and four right angles.
      ‘she tore a bit of cloth into a four-inch square’
      • ‘Look down at the floor and you will see it is made up of black and white tile squares some of which spell out obituaries for Ginsberg, William Burroughs and other significant cultural icons.’
      • ‘Cut out 8 squares of tightly woven muslin, 8 squares of felt, and 8 squares of autumn or seasonal print material.’
      • ‘Carpet tiles come precut in twelve- or eighteen-inch squares.’
      • ‘By painting the backs of glass squares ordered from a window glass supplier, you can create distinctive coasters - for yourself or for gifts.’
      • ‘Flooring consists of basic white ceramic squares interspersed with alternating colors of 1-inch glass mosaics.’
      • ‘Roll out the puff pastry to a square, measuring about 24 cm.’
      • ‘Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured board and trim to a 25 cm-wide circle or square.’
      • ‘It's a piece of plywood with squares cut out of it.’
      • ‘She turned it over a couple times in her hands before she finally opened it and out fell a piece of paper, folded into the smallest square it could be.’
      • ‘The quilt is made up of calico squares.’
      • ‘One method would be to take squares of cloth and make little pillows about 4 inches square stuffed with herbs or nicely scented potpourri.’
      • ‘I chose matte ceramic tile for the countertops, and taupe and white matte vinyl squares on the floor.’
      • ‘The walls were lined in mirrored squares and there were even small spotlights reflecting off everything.’
      • ‘In a large room next to a hangar, two huge boards are covered with small paper squares in yellow, purple and orange.’
      • ‘Over breakfast he got a Weetabix carton and cut out two squares and glued them together.’
      • ‘The beer garden is a concrete square out back, bordered by two brick walls and a grey stone tenement.’
      • ‘Using a utility knife cut a small square out of the lid to serve as a picture frame.’
      • ‘Adding sticky-back mirror squares at the back of a shelving system of this sort magnifies the space.’
      • ‘We selected a small square of sand bordered by several logs and overhung with a leafy screen and set our bags to the ground.’
      • ‘To make pinwheels, cut heavy paper or Mylar into 8-inch squares.’
    2. 1.2 A thing having the shape or approximate shape of a cube.
      ‘a small square of chocolate’
      • ‘The audience was treated to birthday cake following the performance, nice squares of sponge flavored chocolate, strawberry or lemon.’
      • ‘He peeled his orange and ate some squares of chocolate.’
      • ‘In the South, beans get ladled up with lots of the broth and served with a square of corn bread.’
      • ‘When cool, ice with chocolate icing and cut into squares.’
      • ‘He reached in, pulled out a chocolate square and took a big bite.’
      • ‘I also had the Lamingtons for dessert, sponge cake squares dipped in chocolate and covered in coconut and served with cream.’
      • ‘Joe squealed, finally finding what he was looking for, shoving a square of milk chocolate into his mouth.’
      • ‘Turn the fudge onto the cutting board and cut into squares.’
      • ‘He loves them so much that when a treat, or a bribe, is called for, you could give him a choice between a pod of just picked peas, and a square of chocolate.’
      • ‘A sauce was made by boiling down the marinade and adding a square of dark chocolate.’
      • ‘In French cafés and restaurants, you often get a little square of chocolate wrapped in foil and paper with your coffee.’
      • ‘The interior walls are stucco but for a high wall behind the altar which is covered with squares of plain gray stone.’
      • ‘Then, finally, I eat a single square of gourmet chocolate.’
      • ‘Enjoy a single square of dark bittersweet chocolate with a glass of rich, earthy Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.’
      • ‘I ration myself to two squares of chocolate a day.’
      • ‘The new shape makes it great for bar cookies, brownies, and cakes, tarts, or quiches that you want to cut into squares to serve a crowd.’
      • ‘If I want to eat chocolate, I select pristine Hershey squares.’
      • ‘Drain and chop the tofu into 1cm squares, cover with boiling water for 1 minute, then drain.’
      • ‘Pressed tofu, doufu-kan, is also sold in squares, rather smaller, and has a meatier, more chewy texture.’
      • ‘Cut the cake into four squares then slice each square into two horizontally.’
    3. 1.3 A small square area on the board used in a game.
      • ‘Players can double and triple letter and word points by strategically using Birdie and Eagle squares on the board.’
      • ‘Every square on the board is labelled by a letter and a number.’
      • ‘Each player in her turn chooses one of the squares of the board and writes a number from 1 to 6 in the square with her colored pen.’
      • ‘Every time you move, you write the letter for the piece that moved followed by the name of the square it moved to.’
      • ‘Placed in the center of a board, a Bishop can simply cover more squares than a Knight can.’
      • ‘This game is superior in complexity to English draughts by virtue of the fact that it is played on a board ten squares by ten squares and that capturing moves have an extended scope.’
      • ‘The modern game dates from the 15th century, when the board of squares became chequered and the pieces gained their present form.’
      • ‘He picked up a rook and moved it forward three squares, capturing a knight, and exposing the king.’
      • ‘Based on the traditional 64 - square checkerboard, the game appears simple.’
      • ‘We have this bingo-type game where you match tokens to squares on a board.’
      • ‘Armed with enormous talent and intelligence, Kasparov reigned supreme over the board of 64 squares like none of his great predecessors.’
      • ‘A beautiful carved board with 13x13 squares was found at Gokstad in Norway.’
      • ‘A bishop can only move diagonally, and thus, can only get into a space that is the same color as the square it started on.’
      • ‘His list of demands - about the conditions, the noise, the exact shade and millimetre length of the squares on the board - grew longer each day.’
      • ‘Chess, however, is almost inconceivably more complex, and the pieces can be arranged on the 64 squares of the board in 10 distinct ways.’
      • ‘Elaborating on the Braille chessboard, he said, the black squares on the board were slightly more raised than the white ones.’
      • ‘The board in the current version has raised squares to hold the tiles and needs no alterations, as long as the blind player knows which way the board is oriented at the beginning.’
      • ‘The human can sometimes win simply by moving a piece back and forth between the same two squares, and the computer wastes all of its time re-examining each position.’
      • ‘For the next three moves nothing existed for me but the sixty four black and white squares in front of me, on which twenty chess pieces fought an intricate dance of death.’
      • ‘‘Your move,’ said Adam, moving his rook forward two squares.’
    4. 1.4historical A body of infantry drawn up in rectangular form.
      • ‘Then for about 90 minutes the French made a series of fruitless attacks with unsupported cavalry on unbroken allied infantry squares.’
      • ‘The background of a raging battle with canons and cavalry assaulting squares of infantry soldiers left little doubt that this man had served under the Duke of Wellington.’
    5. 1.5 A unit of 100 square ft. used as a measure of flooring, roofing, etc.
  • 2An open (typically four-sided) area surrounded by buildings in a town, village, or city.

    ‘a market square’
    in place names ‘Herald Square’
    • ‘As they approached the town square a guard of honour was provided by 20 veterans for groups including the Royal British Legion and Indian Ex-Servicemen.’
    • ‘First impressions are that I've found the quintessential Western town, with clapboard houses and little red brick shops lining a tree-shaded square.’
    • ‘Tonight the pontiff will return to St Peter's Square to celebrate midnight mass.’
    • ‘The next morning, I head out early and stop first at Plaza Mayor, a huge square surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in the city.’
    • ‘There will be free performances in the square every day next week, around lunch and tea-time.’
    • ‘Demonstrators were kept tightly packed into the square for more than four hours in the rain without access to any facilities.’
    • ‘A beer in one of the bars around the square is a convenient way to get your bearings and make a plan.’
    • ‘Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters filled streets and squares, blocked roads, walked out of schools and universities and temporarily stopped work yesterday.’
    • ‘Tucked away at the top of the square this small hotel exudes tranquillity.’
    • ‘As thousands of people stood vigil in St. Peter's square all day today, millions more stayed glued to their televisions.’
    • ‘The revamp also aims to encourage people to stay in the city centre before and after a trip to the theatre or the Winter Gardens by making the square an attraction in its own right.’
    • ‘In Kiev there is a big statue in the square erected in his honor.’
    • ‘Meanwhile in the town square the crowds were being entertained with Irish music and dancing.’
    • ‘The most famous restaurant in town is Wierzynek, on a corner of Rynek Glowny, Krakow's main square, the largest in medieval Europe and the pulsing heart of the city.’
    • ‘As we arrived at the square the normal jumble of carts, wagons, stalls, and milling people that we saw every day greeted us.’
    • ‘The center of town was a tree-lined square, surrounded by quaint-looking stores and antique shops.’
    • ‘After sticking our heads into various hostels to inquire about prices, we picked one a few blocks from the square which was very clean, as hostels go.’
    • ‘There is a statue of Nelson in the main square in Bridgetown that pre-dates the one in Trafalgar Square.’
    • ‘We soon came to a large village square with a beautiful fountain in the center.’
    • ‘The Rio Bravo workers have camped out in the city's main square.’
    marketplace, close, quadrangle, quad, courtyard
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 An open area at the meeting of streets.
      • ‘Don't miss Trinity College, the streets, parks and squares of Georgian Dublin and the Guinness brewery.’
      • ‘Luckily these days, the closest you'll come to violence is being dive-bombed by one of the thousands of swifts that weave through the narrow cobbled streets and squares.’
      • ‘To some people, it means architecture - a lovely sequence of Georgian-style squares and streets extending from the Royal Crescent to the Holborne Museum and beyond.’
      • ‘There are no cosy Victorian squares surrounded by gentrified terraces.’
      • ‘The Bloomsbury Conservation Area is characterised by a planned pattern of streets and squares developed mainly during the 18th and early 19th centuries.’
      • ‘The Barri Gotic, en route, is full of good cheap restaurants as well as being a quaint area of narrow streets and small squares which are a delight to stroll through.’
      • ‘Leading off the main thoroughfare, a warren of smaller streets and squares provide the perfect retreat for food and beer.’
      • ‘It's really just a good excuse to wander the winding streets and shady squares of the glorious Old Town and the Mazarin Quarter doing a spot of window-shopping.’
      • ‘Mr Cox said a simple thing like decorating the galvanised steel street lamps in the square could be considered.’
      • ‘Near the port area is compact Ladadika, a cluster of squares and streets which formerly comprised olive oil warehouses and markets.’
      • ‘The streets and squares are almost as beautiful as Verona's, and Trenitalia brought me here in under an hour.’
      • ‘Its narrow streets and squares resonate with the songs of the gondolieri and chatter coming from open-air cafes.’
      • ‘Everyone who has ever been to the city's squares or parks will remember the lovely and docile pigeons.’
    2. 2.2US A block of buildings bounded by four streets.
      • ‘Security was tight in the US capital and 100 square blocks were sealed to traffic.’
      • ‘It's all too easy to delude yourself that the few square blocks in which you live or work are the sum of New York.’
      • ‘Los Angeles has the largest skid row in the nation, stretching across 50 square blocks.’
      • ‘There are roughly 9,000 junkies in 30 square blocks in Vancouver's downtown eastside.’
  • 3The product of a number multiplied by itself.

    ‘a circle's area is proportional to the square of its radius’
    • ‘She received the Ford Prize from the Mathematical Association of America in 1971 for a paper on the sums of squares.’
    • ‘He gives some interesting conditions for the decimal representation of a number n to be a square.’
    • ‘After all, the kinetic energy of any object is equal to half its mass multiplied by the square of its velocity.’
    • ‘Asked for the square of 4,395 he hesitated but on the question being repeated he gave the correct answer, namely 19,316,025.’
    • ‘In 1770, French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange proved what previous mathematicians had suspected or assumed: Every positive integer is either a square itself or the sum of two, three, or four squares.’
    • ‘Quetelet believed that there are forces which tend to prevent this population growth and that they increase with the square of the rate at which the population grows.’
    • ‘The scalogram is a plot of the sum of the squares of the coefficients at each scale.’
    • ‘Consider, for example, the Pythagorean theorem that the square on the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.’
    • ‘For electromagnetism, the coupling constant is proportional to the square of the electric charge.’
    • ‘I have modeled it as proportional to the square of the velocity and determined an air resistance coefficient from the data, which varies from object to object.’
    • ‘Assuming a constant wing shape and oscillating stroke, the average lift is proportional to the square of wingbeat frequency.’
    • ‘An individual's BMI is defined as their weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters.’
    • ‘The quadruple of this is 84, which subtracted from the square of 10, namely 100, yields 16.’
    • ‘BMI measures weight in kilograms divided by the square of one's body height.’
    • ‘After giving further results of this type he gives his famous result that the distance that a body moves from rest under uniform acceleration is proportional to the square of the time taken.’
    • ‘In other words, the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the triangle's two legs.’
    • ‘Other results obtained by al-Karaji include summing the first n natural numbers, the squares of the first n natural numbers and the cubes of these numbers.’
    • ‘On the other hand, 7 is an example of an integer that can't be written as the sum of three squares.’
    • ‘The square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the legs.’
    • ‘The square of an even number is even; 6 is even; therefore, the square of 6 is even.’
    • ‘The signal-to-noise ratio of FCS measurements is proportional to the square of the molecular brightness.’
  • 4An L-shaped or T-shaped instrument used for obtaining or testing right angles.

    ‘a carpenter's square’
    • ‘Be sure, therefore, that each line is running exactly along each arm of the square.’
    • ‘Then mark the ends of the joists at this point and draw a line across them with a combination square.’
    • ‘Hold a carpenter's square with the long tongue against the back wall and slide it into the corner.’
    • ‘Although you could use a framing square for this job, a better option involves equalizing diagonal measurements.’
    • ‘Using a small square draw a line from this mark across the pointed end of the plywood.’
    • ‘Use a drywall square to connect the points and make your cut accordingly.’
    1. 4.1Astrology An aspect of 90° (one quarter of a circle)
      ‘Venus in square to Jupiter’
      • ‘Mercury in Sagittarius in the 6th square Mars is not a signature for tact and diplomacy.’
      • ‘His Venus was in square from Gemini, sign of plurality, or at least duality.’
      • ‘The square of Mars to Saturn induce him to be obstinate and a little willful, a tincture of malice remaining in him.’
      • ‘Yet he actually had Neptune in square to Jupiter!’
      • ‘Sirius was in square to the Moon and also to Mercury in the 8th house, while Procyon was in square to Venus in the 8th.’
  • 5informal A person considered to be old-fashioned or boringly conventional in attitude or behavior.

    • ‘He's a plodding, conventional square, she's a get-ahead, modern girl who doesn't need to cling to conventional wisdom.’
    • ‘She called me so many things … she said I was old-fashioned, stubborn and a square for not allowing her to go.’
    • ‘Come on Maggie: don't be such a square.’
    fogey, old fogey, conservative, traditionalist, conventionalist, diehard, conformist, bourgeois, museum piece, fossil, dinosaur, troglodyte
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1North American A cigarette containing tobacco rather than cannabis.
  • 6North American informal A square meal.

    ‘three squares a day’
    • ‘My crew is pretty lucky, though - I like to see they get three squares a day.’
    • ‘As we said earlier and as history has demonstrated, there's nothing wrong with three squares a day.’
    • ‘The concept of three squares a day is obsolete: the new theory calls for several smaller meals to keep your metabolism churning.’
    • ‘Again, all we asked for was leadership and three squares a day.’
    • ‘Mine was a lousy job. There must be a better way of making three squares a day.’
    • ‘You may not need or want to plan a schedule around ‘three squares a day.’’
    • ‘Sometimes, you're just too tired - or too busy - to fit in three squares a day.’


  • 1Having the shape or approximate shape of a square.

    ‘a square table’
    • ‘It's a trout which migrates to sea, is smaller but chunkier than salmon, has a squarer tail, pink flesh and tastes more delicate.’
    • ‘The square shape of Scarborough Castle comes into view, and we turn inland.’
    • ‘These stairs were shorter, leading down to a simple square room.’
    • ‘The house was a fairly simple square structure with only a few rooms.’
    • ‘She pointed out that they were different shapes, one slightly squarer, one more rectangular.’
    • ‘He sat down at the small, square table across from her, chuckling a little.’
    • ‘Spread the mixture in a lightly oiled square ovenproof dish and use the spoon to flatten the surface.’
    • ‘Four players stand in a square formation 5 yards away from the receiver, who's in the middle.’
    • ‘There are both round and square tables with excellent access for wheelchairs and walking frames.’
    • ‘Ideally you want to have pixels that are approximately square in shape.’
    • ‘Now click on the little square box to the left of Snapshot 1.’
    • ‘A small square table with two wooden chairs on each side was positioned in the middle of the room.’
    • ‘Within 15 minutes my tart of goats cheese and asparagus was on the table, nicely presented on a square plate with drizzles of sticky balsamic vinegar.’
    • ‘She was wearing a plain tweedy suit with a simple square pendant of some purple gem.’
    • ‘I thought it was time for a change from the round glasses I'm used to, so I went for narrower, squarer lenses.’
    • ‘Next to the bed was a square wooden table, on which lay a towel and a wash basin filled with warm water.’
    • ‘Audrey had thick brown hair and blunt almost square features.’
    • ‘The cliffs behind me were green and lush with ferns, and there were square white buildings nestled into the vegetation.’
    • ‘In the middle of the room was a large square table.’
    • ‘I could just pick out enormous square shapes on the seabed below, seemingly arranged in a regular pattern.’
    • ‘Therefore, none of the Waldorf classrooms are square; all are angled in such a way as to help the children focus.’
    quadrilateral, rectangular, oblong, right-angled, at right angles, perpendicular
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    1. 1.1 Having the shape or approximate shape of a cube.
      ‘a square box’
      • ‘Opening the bag, she took out a square box and gaped at the picture.’
      • ‘In my day we only had the simplest of Lego pieces - just square blocks.’
      • ‘My mom handed both the little girls a blue square box.’
      • ‘He handed me a square flat black box with a white ribbon.’
      • ‘The two chocolates will be presented in a square box, which matches the colour of the bridesmaids' dresses.’
      • ‘I bought a Bounty and ate it on the bus as we dove through the dirty square blocks of the southern suburbs.’
      • ‘Marvolo reached inside his pocket and pulled out a small square navy blue box.’
      • ‘Under them were a number of small square paper candy boxes.’
      • ‘Grace beams and clasps her hands together as Steven reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small, square package wrapped in simple white paper and a red ribbon.’
      • ‘Most of the competition entries were conventional square buildings - very few had any softening of their lines.’
      • ‘There was at least one other pocket watch that he could see, and several wristwatches, and square jeweler's boxes in worn blue and green velvet.’
      • ‘Instead, he fishes out a square ice cream bar wrapped in silver foil.’
      • ‘A huge mound of square granite blocks can still be seen at the base of the Koppie.’
      • ‘With a light shake of his head, Michael laughed and drained the last of his Coke, square ice cubes clinking against the clear glass.’
      • ‘‘Here, I got you a little something,’ she says, handing me a flat, square package.’
      • ‘It is a square box with two gears on top and a switch on the side.’
      • ‘Nobody wants an ugly square box taking up prominent shelf space in the living room.’
      • ‘He laid out the revolver, an aerosol can, some superglue and a brightly wrapped square box on the back seat.’
      • ‘Castle builders realised that round towers had more strength than conventional square ones.’
      • ‘The ‘glass’ was a square block of ice with a hole in the centre.’
    2. 1.2 Having or in the form of two right angles.
      ‘a suitable length of wood with square ends’
      • ‘No angle is square, so it's more time consuming and is much more expensive.’
      • ‘Failing to make your foundation square is the easiest way to have an awful time building a greenhouse.’
      • ‘For example, the houses that we see in this map, they appear to have sort-of square corners, even though they've got rounded roofs.’
      • ‘Take the optical cable that came with your MD Recorder and plug the square end into your sound card.’
    3. 1.3 Having an outline resembling two corners of a square.
      ‘his square jaw’
      • ‘He's very muscular and has a chiselled physique and square jaw.’
      • ‘His jet-black hair was cropped short, just as fighting men of the time wore it, and his chiseled features emphasized his square jaw.’
      • ‘He was tall, probably a foot taller than me, and he had dark hair, hazel-green eyes, a square jaw, and the look of one who was serious and dedicated in all that he did.’
      • ‘For example, if they are ovulating they find a rugged looking face with a square jaw and masculine features the most attractive.’
      • ‘Rue seemed glad to be able to turn her attention back to the attractive man with the square jaw and jade-green eyes.’
      • ‘He has a square jaw, a scar above his top lip and a gold stud in his left nostril.’
      • ‘His jaw had become squarer, his eyebrows bushier, and his hair much coarser.’
      • ‘Certainly, with his impressive build and square jaw, McConaughey looks like he could take on Matt Damon and Ben Affleck simultaneously without breaking a sweat.’
      • ‘He was a man in his late forties with a square jaw and flaming red hair.’
      • ‘It was obvious that the men were brothers just by looking at them - they all shared the same dark hair and tanned skin, square jaws and high cheekbones.’
      • ‘Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor who plays Arenas, has a remarkable head: square jaw, large doe eyes, broken nose, curly hair.’
      • ‘This whole cover is one piece of aluminum bent into a U shape, with square windows on all sides.’
      • ‘He was kind of cute with a square jaw and golden blonde hair.’
      • ‘He was burly with dark, weathered skin and a wide, square jaw.’
      • ‘You can see the determination in the square outline of his jaw, the jutting staunchness of his features.’
      • ‘Her jaw was square and appeared even squarer with her coarse black hair pulled from her face and twisted into a knot at the back of her head.’
      • ‘The young soldier, who has cropped dark brown hair and a square jaw, sat slightly hunched in the dock, according to a military courtroom drawing.’
      • ‘The other male was older, about thirty-five and taller, with a well-built physique and a square jaw.’
      • ‘Two days worth of facial hair accentuated his firm, square jaw.’
      • ‘She'd obviously inherited her mother's elegant features, but combined with her father's square jaw, it made her look severe and tense.’
      • ‘Her square jaw was set, and she looked somehow as if she was trying not to think at all.’
    4. 1.4 Broad and solid in shape.
      ‘he was short and square’
      • ‘The warden was a tall, square woman with broad shoulders and a horsey face.’
      • ‘I have a difficult time finding cute or elegant clothes that flatter my shorter and squarer figure.’
      • ‘She had a square face and long broad facial features.’
      • ‘His solid, square face is red from the cold air outside, and when he bends down to kiss Cynthia she pulls back from his cold lips, laughing.’
      • ‘The creature is broad, with square shoulders, but not tall, roughly five and a half feet.’
      • ‘A square face benefits from a chin length bob that ends in a soft flip or gentle wave.’
      • ‘He has well-defined square, straight shoulders and a muscular chest kept remarkably youthful by a healthy exercise regimen.’
  • 2Denoting a unit of measurement equal to the area of a square whose side is of the unit specified.

    ‘30,000 square feet of new gallery space’
    • ‘The reserve lies in the centre of the delta and occupies 3,000 square kilometres.’
    • ‘The British Galleries occupy about thirty-four hundred square meters of space on two floors.’
    • ‘The £3 million fund will be used to fill potholes across two million square metres of road.’
    • ‘In fact the total area of cloud forest is something like 400,000 square kilometres.’
    • ‘An average de-miner can clear approximately 20 to 50 square meters a day.’
    • ‘Real estate agents said the four units have a total floor area of about 5,700 square feet.’
    • ‘The water park covers 40 square miles south of Cirencester and has 140 man-made lakes.’
    • ‘But with six million square miles of ocean, drug runners often elude authorities.’
    • ‘In 1998 the site owners refurbished 30 units on the site, covering about 3100 square metres.’
    • ‘The two-storey Victorian property has 242 square metres of living space.’
    • ‘Already the southern Russian desert is increasing by 500 square kilometres every year.’
    • ‘So Colonel Hickey ordered nearly two square miles blocked off, and an intensive search began.’
    • ‘More than a quarter of the mainland, 2.6 million square km, is now desert.’
    • ‘For the finest work, it takes four weavers three months to finish a rug that measures six square meters (about seven square yards).’
    • ‘The current International Exhibition Center has just over 60,000 square meters of floor space.’
    • ‘It has been estimated that an individual polar bear will cover an area equal to 259,000 square kilometres during its lifetime.’
    • ‘The new East End National Park will be the smallest in the country, covering just 20 square kilometres.’
    • ‘In 15 years, the average American home has grown by almost eight square meters.’
    • ‘Within the 416 square miles of the park there are 355 miles of hiking trails.’
    • ‘A group of otters has a feeding territory of 7 to 12 square kilometers.’
    1. 2.1postpositive Denoting the length of each side of a square shape or object.
      ‘the office was fifteen feet square’
      • ‘His office is a five metres square room reached down a long corridor, one floor above the concourse at London's Euston station.’
      • ‘Access for anyone in a wheelchair, she said, would have been severely hampered if not made impossible by the various items stored in the eight feet square room.’
      • ‘They were clinging to a rock about 4 metres square and barely one metre above the sea.’
      • ‘No bags, rucksacks or backpacks larger than eight inches square will be allowed beyond the ticket and security checkpoints.’
      • ‘At present our sports hall is tiny - about nine metres square.’
      • ‘The 9050 square kilometre Luangwa game park is acknowledged as one of the top 10 game parks in Africa with a wide variety of wildlife birds and vegetation.’
      • ‘We were in a bare cell measuring about ten yards square.’
      • ‘The recorder, a four-inch square metal box, is currently installed in most recent GM vehicles and select 2000 and later Ford vehicles.’
      • ‘The 60 mostly uninhabited islands which comprise the group lie within an area only 20 miles square.’
      • ‘Dustin said he had found asbestos chunks up to 10 centimetres square.’
      • ‘The floor of the porch is covered in green 12-inch square slate tiles.’
      • ‘He had begun work on a small cabin, approximately twelve to thirteen feet square.’
  • 3At right angles; perpendicular.

    ‘these lines must be square to the top and bottom marked edges’
    • ‘The doorframe must be as square as possible, so that the door seals tightly to the jamb and swings properly.’
    • ‘Nail a temporary brace diagonally across the unit to keep it square and stable.’
    • ‘Tack the lower two boards directly to your workbench to help hold the jig square.’
    at right angles, at 90 degrees
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1Astrology Having or denoting an aspect of 90°
      ‘Jupiter is square to the Sun’
      • ‘Your Mars also receives a square aspect from your Moon, which is important.’
      • ‘Uranus is square Venus so relationships may end suddenly with no warning.’
      • ‘The main significators, Sun and Saturn, are beginning to separate from a square aspect.’
      • ‘Capricorn and Aries are not in easy alignment; they are square to each other, at different angles.’
      • ‘It is in square aspect to the Sun and Mercury in Scorpio, which occupy the ninth house.’
  • 4Level or parallel.

    ‘place one piece of wood on top of the other, ensuring that they are exactly square’
    • ‘Keep your hips square to the ceiling, and try to avoid letting your pelvis rotate.’
    • ‘Use the 3-4 - 5 triangle technique to check that your lines are perfectly square.’
    1. 4.1 Properly arranged; in good order.
      ‘we should get everything square before we leave’
      • ‘You can't omit people and then act like we'll just start like everything is square and even when, in fact, it was not and is not.’
    2. 4.2 Compatible or in agreement.
      ‘he wanted to make sure we were square with the court's decision and not subject to a lawsuit’
    3. 4.3 Fair and honest.
      ‘she'd been as square with him as anybody could be’
      • ‘It's the beginning of an attempt to be straight and square with the American people.’
      • ‘I guess that I should be square with you too.’
      • ‘She had been as square with him as anybody could be until he got nasty over nothing.’
      • ‘We don't know who she is, she's got no reason to be square with us.’
      fair, honest, just, equitable, straight, true, upright, above board, ethical, decent, proper, right and proper, honourable, genuine
      View synonyms
  • 5(of two people) owing nothing to each other.

    ‘an acknowledgment that we are square’
    • ‘So in my eyes, we're square. All debts settled.’
    • ‘‘I need you to do one more thing for me,’ Xavier said. ‘Then we're square.’’
    1. 5.1 With both players or sides having equal scores in a game.
      ‘the goal brought the match all square once again’
      • ‘Wilsden then equalised from a corner to make it all square at the break.’
      • ‘The first game ended all square, and the replay was due to be played a fortnight ago, only to be controversially called off minutes before kick off because of floodlight failure.’
      • ‘It seems to have escaped the attention of certain parts of the BBC that we are all square with two tests still to play.’
      • ‘Sloyan kept Sligo in contention throughout and when he put the game all square with three minutes to play the odds on a home victory shortened.’
      • ‘Two points from Scart's Daniel Murphy in the final quarter made it all square between the sides at five points each with about six minutes remaining.’
      • ‘It was all square in the last quarter when Derek Reape put the ball in the net and that was the difference at the final whistle.’
      • ‘Andy Day had given them the lead with a 40-yard shot into the top corner, but by the half-time whistle it was all square as the Swans replied with a Scott strike.’
      • ‘The game was all square after 10 minutes as points from Ryan Cafferkey and Eamon O'Reilly were matched by Noel Convey and Ciaran McDonald.’
      • ‘Fulke pulls his game back to all square at the 16th after Love narrowly misses a putt from the edge of the green.’
      • ‘Much to Chríost Rí's dismay, they were all square at the end of the first quarter.’
      • ‘Charnock then came at Corinthians and after a miskick in the penalty area the ball was smashed into the net to make the game all square at half time.’
      • ‘Eight minutes from time Simon Collins just failed to connect with an excellent Serrant free-kick and a minute later it was all square as Brierley lobbed Matt Boswell from the corner of the area.’
      • ‘Both sides exchanged scores and lead throughout this quarter and it ended all square 11-11.’
      • ‘Jennings took a two game lead quickly, Hyland fought back with some brilliant play to make the game all square at 2 all.’
      • ‘The game finished all square after ninety minutes but extra time did sort the two sides out as the home side scored twice to book their place in the next round.’
      • ‘Scart's midfielder Daniel Murphy made it all square once more at the end of the third quarter and the same player put his side one point to the good in the 47th minute.’
      • ‘Former Castlebar Celtic player Danny Lawless also went close for Snugboro but despite the best efforts off both teams the game ended all square.’
      level, even, drawn, equal, all square, tied, balanced, on a level, in a position of equality
      View synonyms
  • 6informal Old-fashioned or boringly conventional.

    ‘Elvis was anything but square’
    • ‘He talked about how much he'd enjoyed scaring Gunn this morning, and that Dennis was too square to actually try something like that.’
    • ‘The main courses were a bit square, but still good.’
    • ‘I'm so glad that I look so square that nobody ever offers me drugs.’
    • ‘From now on, he would no longer be boring old Harry the square Republican.’
    • ‘I think he was either too square or too hip to even know who Mike Read was.’
    • ‘Perhaps if these teachers paid attention to the way they dressed, English classes wouldn't be so square.’
    • ‘I was reminded of a study that suggests children who develop a fascination with celebrities are likely to be more popular and better adjusted than their squarer peers.’
    old-fashioned, behind the times, out of date, conservative, traditionalist, conventional, diehard, conformist, bourgeois, strait-laced, fogeyish, stuffy, unadventurous, boring
    View synonyms
  • 7(of rhythm) simple and straightforward.

    • ‘At a time when recordings are showing the virtues of an airy, singer-centered style in Handel, the old square rhythm is hard to support.’
    • ‘The opening sinfonia for strings and trombones is remarkably like several opera overtures of the time, with square rhythms.’


  • 1Directly; straight.

    ‘it hit me square in the forehead’
    • ‘She watched him punch a man square in the face, nearly knocking him off of his feet.’
    • ‘He made sure that when he met the President, he looked him square in the eye.’
    • ‘I punched him square in the face, but he did not let go.’
    • ‘She swung her foot around behind her and kicked him square in the chest.’
    • ‘Tyler threw a right hook hitting the guy square in the jaw; very nearly breaking it.’
    • ‘He turns around and kicks the photographer square in the forehead.’
    • ‘It looks to me like he hit you square on.’
    • ‘With full speed she aimed directly at Allison's face and with full force punched her square in the face.’
    • ‘I flicked my red pen at him, hitting him square in the chest.’
    • ‘Franklin felt as if a ton of bricks had landed square in the middle of his chest.’
    • ‘Sheldon grabbed a piece of wood, twisted her body around and hit the man square in the face.’
    directly, right, straight, squarely, square, just, dead, point-blank
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal Fairly; honestly.
      ‘I'd acted square and on the level with him’
      • ‘He had a couple of thousands to invest, and would give me a good commission if I acted square with him.’


[with object]
  • 1Make square or rectangular; give a square or rectangular cross section to.

    ‘you can square off the other edge’
    • ‘The island is particularly well known for its whaling boats, pointed at both ends (most Caribbean boats have squared keels) and up to about thirty feet long.’
    • ‘Cut the roll into six equal pieces and square off the ends.’
    • ‘If you want a formal garden, you might want to get out the tape measure and square the corners, or use a string and two stakes to create rows.’
    • ‘The trigger is gently curved and smooth, as all good double action triggers should be, and the front of the trigger guard is squared slightly and grooved.’
    1. 1.1usually as adjective squared Mark out in squares.
      • ‘Try to copy one of the designs on squared paper in such a way that each unit square has only one colour.’
      • ‘One-third of the island's population converges daily into Fort-de-France, whose narrow symmetrically squared streets are as congested during the day as they are empty at night.’
  • 2Multiply (a number) by itself.

    ‘5 squared equals 25’
    • ‘Such a sequence consists of the remainders, or residues, after squaring consecutive whole numbers, then dividing them by a given prime number.’
    • ‘In 1907, he abbreviated it to what would become science's most famous equation: The amount of energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, or E = mc².’
    • ‘The revulsion we still feel when women rather than men commit murders became revulsion squared.’
    • ‘‘When air traffic doubles, the risk of collision is squared,’ he said.’
    • ‘If you square the radius times the pi, you will get the circle's space.’
    • ‘Well, when September 1st falls on a Monday, it's like Monday squared: new school term, new resolutions, new week, new season etc.’
    1. 2.1squaredusually as postpositive adjective Convert (a linear unit of measurement) to a unit of area equal to a square whose side is of the unit specified.
      ‘there were only three people per kilometer squared’
      • ‘A newton has a mass unit of kilograms and an acceleration unit of meters squared per second.’
      • ‘I don't actually know how many metres squared my house is.’
      • ‘The average heat loss from a single glazed window is 5 watts per metre squared.’
      • ‘Surface gravity is just under nine meters per second squared.’
      • ‘It occupies a continental surface area of 27,791,810 km squared.’
  • 3Make compatible; reconcile.

    ‘I'm able to square my profession with my religious beliefs’
    • ‘It is hard to square the sharp increase in the consumption of alcohol with increasing health awareness, which in turn could lead to a radical shift in eating habits.’
    • ‘The scarcity of liquid water on Mars today is not easy to square with the abundant evidence that large volumes of water flowed on the planet in the past.’
    • ‘I find this hard to square with Christian moral teaching.’
    • ‘But Edwards's public face remains relentlessly cheerful, and it's hard to square with the devastation he endured.’
    • ‘But it is impossible to square his account with reports published by, for example, the Washington Post.’
    • ‘I had always been into science, and I didn't know how to square the book of Genesis with the things I had read.’
    • ‘Moreover, such tax cuts are hard to square with Harper's promise of more money - a lot more money - to the military and the health care system.’
    • ‘It's hard to square this with the photographs that are regularly splashed across the fashion press: she always looks too perfect to be real.’
    • ‘All this and yet no one had the nerve to stand up and publicly ask the deceitful politician how he squared his public policy positions with his private life?’
    • ‘How will she square this with her conscience?’
    • ‘More and more people are coming to realize this the hard way, by looking at the government's figures and trying to square them with their own experience.’
    • ‘The idea that ‘we are all guilty’ is a trendy modern notion, but one I can't square with the words of Christ.’
    • ‘Surely, though, such a decision would be hard to square with the government's liberalisation of media ownership contained in its own Communications Act.’
    • ‘How can I square my urge to support her with the fact that she has behaved so badly?’
    • ‘I don't see how this can be squared with what Hillman is now telling us.’
    • ‘Arguments for the existence of free will are hard to square with scientific advances which show how to bend the will.’
    • ‘Here, too, the facts are hard to square with the argument.’
    • ‘He is asked how he can square the bellicose God of the Old Testament with his ideas on peace and love.’
    • ‘He has yet to explain how he will square these policies.’
    • ‘It was hard to square their primitive lifestyle with their incredible abilities.’
    make compatible, harmonize, make harmonious, synthesize, make congruent, cause to be in agreement, cause to sit easily with, cause to sit happily with
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1no object Be compatible.
      ‘do those announcements really square with the facts?’
      • ‘There is a vision of urban life today that doesn't square with what we think it should be, or what we think it used to be.’
      • ‘Simply put, his audio account doesn't seem to square with the video record in the documentary.’
      • ‘Although the losses have been severe, the charge that those jobs were eliminated by foreign competition simply doesn't square with the facts.’
      • ‘However, this doesn't square with Brimelow's worldview, so he ignores it.’
      • ‘Still, any teaching of evolution was opposed by creationists, on the ground that it didn't square with a literal reading of the Bible.’
      • ‘Somehow that doesn't square with his kinship with Martin Luther King.’
      • ‘It doesn't square with common sense, so something is going on here.’
      • ‘His recollection of the events of that night doesn't square with reality.’
      • ‘Now, how does that square with their earlier statement?’
      • ‘What isn't completely clear yet is how what leaders at all levels said during these conferences squared with reality on the ground.’
      • ‘How does that square with Christianity, which has at times been skeptical of wealth and capitalism?’
      • ‘There is something about preparing food for Christmas that doesn't quite square with modern life.’
      • ‘Sometimes well-corroborated theories have had to be rejected because they failed to square with newly available evidence.’
      • ‘This was not a desirable use of time, and it hardly squared with public priorities for policing.’
      • ‘Hoy has had only one temporary relapse when, as a first-year student at St Andrews University, he entered a new social circle that no longer squared with cycling.’
      • ‘So how does that square with Congressional ethics rules?’
      • ‘While the figures cannot be confirmed, they square with many other estimates circulating in recent years.’
      • ‘Quite how this dose of reality squared with her own beliefs escapes me to this day.’
      • ‘He said that the account that had been given, particularly to the doctors at the hospital, did not square with the account given by the appellant.’
      • ‘How does that square with the Tory belief in self-determination?’
      agree, tally, be in agreement, be consistent, match up, correspond, fit, coincide, accord, conform, be in harmony, harmonize, be consonant, be compatible, be congruous
      View synonyms
  • 4Balance (an account)

    ‘they're anxious to square their books before the audit’
    • ‘Austin promised Telenor a consultancy invoice to square their accounts.’
    • ‘Foreign currency experts believe institutions are anxious to square their books ahead of the election.’
    • ‘If the other pitcher threw at one of your players, then you had to square the account.’
    • ‘Punishment was meted out to suit the offense; once it had been administered, the account was squared, and no wise clan lord or war leader continued to hold the past against his followers.’
    1. 4.1 Make the score of (a match or game) even.
      with object and complement ‘his goal squared the match 1-1’
      • ‘And indeed eight minutes into the half he squared the match with another free kick.’
      • ‘I'd like to see England win this one and square the series.’
      • ‘By his own standards, Bowe struggled at times but he did produce a magnificent birdie when most needed at the testing 17th to square the match.’
      • ‘It was cruel luck for the tourists, who could have done with wrapping up the innings quickly in a match they must win to square the series.’
      • ‘Garcia made the birdie at the eleventh to square the match.’
      • ‘Chances are we could have squared the series by winning the second Test.’
      • ‘If they are not able to pick up a victory to square the series, it will give England a huge boost with four matches left, not to mention a handy 2-0 lead.’
      • ‘In the final match, Lara scored yet another hundred but this was so frantic and frenzied that it could not stop the Australians from winning the match and squaring the series.’
      • ‘But Howell birdied the 17th to square the match and Casey's par on the last earned the European pair a significant victory on their Ryder Cup debuts.’
      • ‘He squared the contest on the 11th and took the lead for the first time on the 15th.’
      • ‘Williams was forced to use high-risk all-or-nothing tactics which backfired as Seles squared the match then secured victory.’
      • ‘Butcher kept alive his team's hopes of squaring the three-match series with his second consecutive half-century.’
      • ‘Mike Rudd squared his match with a birdie four at the 18 th-hole, while Kevin Miller rallied from one down with three to play for birdies on the 16th and 17th for a one-hole victory.’
      • ‘The Swede, one of the top putters on the European tour, missed another four-foot birdie on the 12th that would have squared the match.’
      • ‘But after I won three of the next four holes to square the match, suddenly I was flying high.’
      • ‘The big Castlewellan player showed nerves of steel to hammer the ball through the uprights and square the match.’
      • ‘Thirteen nervous minutes into the contest Doran converted a free from 38 metres but Mulligan squared the match in the 16th minute after interplay between Smith and McGoldrick.’
      • ‘Twist, the number one seed, missed a great chance to square the match at 8-8.’
      • ‘So disorientated was he at the end that, faced with a four-foot putt to square the match on the last green, he almost made an error that would have prematurely cost him the match.’
      level, even, make equal
      View synonyms
  • 5Bring (one's shoulders) into a position in which they appear square and broad, typically to prepare oneself for a difficult task or event.

    ‘chin up, shoulders squared, she stepped into the room’
    • ‘Michael squared his shoulders and put on a brave face.’
    • ‘And squaring her shoulders, she bravely marched into the throng of people.’
    • ‘Sighing, I squared my shoulders and prepared myself for the nightmare soon to commence.’
    • ‘He became very stiff and squared his shoulders when I raised the subject, as if to say: here we go again, okay, okay.’
    • ‘I could feel a lump forming in my throat and my eyes began to burn, but I squared my shoulders - I would not let her see me cry.’
    • ‘She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders.’
    • ‘At the mention of such a grown-up task, Alex squared his shoulders and assented that yes, he had protected his mother from all sorts of dangers while his father was away.’
    • ‘In an aggressive situation we stand tall and square our shoulders, just like other mammals.’
    • ‘Shrugging off his fear, he squared his shoulders grimly.’
    • ‘Kevin straightened and squared his broad shoulders.’
    • ‘Then, squaring his shoulders, he grasped the door handle with resolve.’
    • ‘I swallowed the thought that maybe my dad was downstairs with the principal waiting for me but I squared my shoulders and excused myself from History class.’
    • ‘She turned on him, squaring her shoulders and holding her head high.’
    • ‘Taking a deep breath, he squared his shoulders, hoping that his expression did not betray his fright, or the pounding of his heart when he spoke.’
    • ‘Anne Marie squared her shoulders and forced a smile.’
    • ‘He cleared his throat and squared his shoulders.’
    • ‘At first Lydia was uncomfortable, but then she seemed to square her shoulders and prepare herself.’
    • ‘Taking a deep breath and squaring her shoulders, she descended the stairs to the hall.’
    • ‘Now, faced with something that had nearly frightened her to death, she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and turned the doorknob.’
    • ‘‘I think I just need to move on,’ Zoe said squaring her shoulders and raising her chin.’
    1. 5.1square oneself Adopt a posture of defense.
      • ‘Peabody squared himself up like some fresh fight was just about to commence.’
      • ‘Charlie squared himself in front of Jackson.’
  • 6informal Secure the help, acquiescence, or silence of (someone), especially by offering an inducement.

    ‘trying to square the press’
    • ‘It is an attempt to square their own backbenchers, but they have failed to satisfy them and we are now set for a battle royal.’
    • ‘Reynaud therefore decided that it would be necessary to get rid of both men, and he spent the following weeks squaring political heavyweights so as to isolate Daladier.’
    • ‘There was a time that, when a French president spoke - as long as the Germans were squared (and they usually were by the Franco-German axis) - he could presume to speak for the EU.’
    bribe, buy off, buy, corrupt, suborn, give an inducement to
    View synonyms
  • 7Sailing
    Set (a yard or other part of a ship) approximately at right angles to the keel or other point of reference.

  • 8Astrology
    (of a planet) have a square aspect with (another planet or position)

    ‘Saturn squares the Sun on the 17th’
    • ‘As it squares your natal moon in Scorpio, anything that affects your moon-ruled Cancer placements - sun, Mercury and Saturn - will hit you rather hard.’
    • ‘Your planetary ruler, Saturn, squares the Virgo Moon on Thursday.’
    • ‘Then, Saturn squares the Sun on February 26.’
    • ‘It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.’
    • ‘Most of the charts had a square to the Moon and the planet squaring the Moon was Pluto or Uranus.’


  • back to (or at) square one

    • informal Back to where one started, with no progress having been made.

      • ‘‘It is the same knee problem as before and it looks as if it is back to square one for him,’ said Lehmann.’
      • ‘I think that the prosecution and the police have gone back to square one.’
      • ‘He made his comeback a year later but after 12 games he was back to square one.’
      • ‘In 1999 we lost all of our good players and went back to square one.’
      • ‘Having spent all summer to earn money to put yourself through college, Christmas comes and goes and you find yourself back to square one.’
      • ‘But even so, it will take the whole year to pay off his overdraft - and at the end of it he will be back to square one.’
      • ‘But after only four months, the owner announced he was closing it down and they were back to square one.’
      • ‘One member of the executive said yesterday that the pay deal could now be ripped up, sending the dispute back to square one.’
      • ‘Engineers managed to get trains running on time again by the early hours today, but further problems near Bethnal Green put them back to square one.’
      • ‘The minute I finished my treatment I was back to square one, and they say they don't have anything else that I can do.’
  • on the square

    • 1Honest; straightforward.

      • ‘I'm not going to throw you over. I've always been on the square with you.’
      honest, frank, candid, open, truthful, sincere, on the level, honest-to-goodness
      View synonyms
    • 2Honestly; fairly.

      • ‘How many local councils are riddled with freemasonry? At how many appointments are the best men…passed over because they are not on the square?’
    • 3At right angles.

  • out of square

    • Not at right angles.

      • ‘A problem you might encounter is that over the years, the window may have gotten out of square.’
      • ‘In many older houses, walls can be out of square and floors out of level.’
      • ‘The installer should be alert to an out of rack condition that can be caused by allowing the floor to get out of square.’
      • ‘When left open they tend to strain at the hinges and pull the door out of square.’
      • ‘A representative from the window supplier inspected the problem and said the windows were out of square and needed to be shimmed.’
      • ‘If the measurement of the two long sides of the field is not the same, the turf is out of square and must be adjusted.’
  • square the circle

    • 1Construct a square equal in area to a given circle (a problem incapable of a purely geometric solution).

      • ‘He is best remembered for his work in the history of mathematics, in particular he wrote a major article on squaring the circle and he also wrote biographies of mathematicians.’
      • ‘We do know some details of this method of squaring the circle and, despite the criticisms of Aristotle, it was an important step forward in the development of mathematics.’
      • ‘While in prison he tried to solve the problem of squaring the circle, that is constructing with ruler and compasses a square with area equal to that of a given circle.’
      • ‘Three geometric construction problems from antiquity puzzled mathematicians for centuries: the trisection of an angle, squaring the circle, and duplicating the cube.’
      • ‘It is usually claimed that Dinostratus used the quadratrix, discovered by Hippias, to solve the problem of squaring the circle.’
      • ‘One of the mathematical problems which ibn al-Haytham attacked was the problem of squaring the circle.’
      • ‘He claimed that the search for truth was equal to the task of squaring the circle.’
      • ‘In the following years he worked on mathematical topics, in particular trying to solve the classical Greek problem of squaring the circle.’
      • ‘This was the age when people were still optimistic of squaring the circle by a geometrical construction.’
      • ‘The problem of squaring the circle, namely constructing a square with the same area as a given circle using ruler and compasses alone, had been one of the classical problems of Greek mathematics.’
      1. 1.1Do something that is considered to be impossible.
        • ‘This is a direct result of social services having to square the circle of increased demand and reduced resources.’
        • ‘The reconciliation of a global economic system based on ‘free trade and shareholder value’ with social needs is equivalent to squaring the circle.’
        • ‘This is clearly an attempt to square the circle as regards corporate clients; they want predictable, more sedate releases while Microsoft needs more frequent releases in order to get new technologies into the market.’
        • ‘Despite the apparent chasm between the parties, the Prime Minister's spokesman was optimistic that the governments would be able to square the circle.’
        • ‘In the run-up to the 2001 election, I wrote suggesting that the Tories could square the circle of higher spending on health and education with the tax cuts that had been in the party's DNA since 1979.’
        • ‘House builders have to square the circle of complying with government policy yet meeting customer demands for larger properties in peaceful locations.’
        • ‘He attempted to square the circle by stating what we instinctively know already: that the international and domestic agendas are now two sides of the same coin.’
        • ‘In other words, the government's task is to square the circle: to win an electoral constituency for policies that are entirely incompatible with the interests of the majority of the population.’
        • ‘When the original idea of foundation hospitals emerged, it was a genuinely bold attempt to square the circle of a taxpayer funded health service, entrepreneurialism, efficiency and patient choice.’
        • ‘The author of Fear Of Flying - a mother who regrets having only one child and a veteran of four marriages who has spent her life trying to square the circle of feminism, career and family - is scared by what she sees around her.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • square something away

    • Arrange or deal with something in a satisfactory way.

      ‘don't you worry, we'll get things squared away’
      • ‘One more championship will square it away for me.’
      • ‘Ibarra will get some money back, he explains, but it won't be the full amount and it won't be until the accounting is squared away.’
      • ‘So we took matters into our own hands and booked another flight ourselves, figuring that we could square things away with ATA after we got back home.’
      • ‘I'm sure it will be fine with my father, but I'll give you his number so you can square it away with him.’
      • ‘All you have to do is square everything away with her parents.’
      • ‘With business itself, most of the key industry groups were squared away privately during and immediately after the deal's negotiation.’
      • ‘Three siblings are squared away in other ranches, so there is no inter-family competition for the 900-acre home farm.’
      • ‘Both teams squared away the three-game test series in front of appreciative crowds.’
      • ‘Norwood didn't think he'd squared it away with Blake.’
      • ‘You know our stand on supplements - they work well, but only after your diet is squared away.’
  • square off

    • Assume the attitude of a person about to fight.

      ‘the two men squared off’
      figurative ‘a debate gives the candidates an opportunity to square off’
      • ‘The nominations have been confirmed and the gloves are off - the candidates for next month's National Assembly elections are squaring up for their May 1st showdown.’
      • ‘As they square up for the fourth time in their careers, Roddick leads their head-to-head rivalry 2-1.’
      • ‘The Department of State and the Pentagon are squaring up for the kind of power struggle that hasn't been seen since George Schultz and Casper Weinberger.’
      • ‘The astonishing bust-up occurred in the 81st-minute as Bowyer and Dyer squared up after a heated exchange and the former appeared to throw the first punch before team-mates moved in as the scrap developed.’
      • ‘But the surveys offer widely different estimates of the extent of its lead, as the parties square up for the first week of full-scale campaigning and the publication of their manifestos over the next few days.’
      • ‘In the original incident, both sides squared up at the end of the Hammers' 1-0 defeat and Cole was seen to throw punches in the direction of Bernard Mendy.’
      • ‘Cooper refused three attempts by police to get him to provide a breath test and squared up to and threatened an officer.’
      • ‘The two players squared up and had to be separated by Ferdinand and others before order was restored by Eriksson's assistant coach, Steve McClaren.’
      • ‘He was in his element, playing the role he relishes the most: the little guy squaring up for a fight with the establishment.’
      • ‘Four men were seen getting out of a battered Vauxhall Vectra car before squaring up to three others in a 4x4, believed to have been a Landrover.’
  • square up

    • 1Settle or pay an account.

      ‘would you square up the bill?’
      pay, pay in full, settle, settle up, discharge, clear
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Settle a dispute or misunderstanding.
        ‘I want to square up whatever's wrong between us’
        • ‘It is a fight he has had to square up to before but in the past it was the fans he had to win over.’
        • ‘The most important stage of the season is still to come and now we really have to square up to the challenge.’
        • ‘Both boys are semi-retired rugby players happy to square up to a new sporting challenge.’
        • ‘Irrespective of what is coming down the line a few basic issues need to be squared up to in this new forum the Agriculture Minister has summoned to re-examine the state of the industry.’
        • ‘The Minister is squaring up to raise tax levels.’
        • ‘Marjorie and Kathleen, played by Beryl Nairn and Anne Cooper, seem to take comfort in squaring up to the reality of their situation.’
        • ‘That's a long-term issue that we still have to square up to.’
        • ‘Fortunately, the show lurches back on to its tracks in the second half, in which Shen Te - pregnant and despairing - squares up to her predicament.’
        • ‘Our leaders need to find the drive, commitment and resources to square up to the challenge.’


Middle English: shortening of Old French esquare (noun), esquarre (past participle, used as an adjective), esquarrer (verb), based on Latin quadra ‘square’.