Definition of square in English:



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

    • ‘Since 1800 B.C. mathematicians have worked on the problem of constructing a square equal in area to that of a given circle.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Every circle was inscribed inside a square such that the sides of the circle just touched the sides of the square.’
    • ‘As the lessons carried on, Heather began drawing small squares on her paper.’
    • ‘The 2 X 0.5 m board was divided into four equal sections, with each section divided into 25 squares of equal size.’
    • ‘Triangles, squares and hexagons create their own proportions and systems.’
    • ‘Choosing a darker hue, such as violet, I began by drawing three squares.’
    • ‘He was wearing a woollen cap and a fleece jacket with white squares on either side of the zip.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Its flag has alternating red-and-white stripes with a dark blue square in the upper-right corner which contains a star.’
    • ‘Needlework is an integral part of this craft and motifs are in basic geometric combinations - squares, triangles and diamonds, says Naveen Shah.’
    • ‘In addition to the traditional graphics such as triangle, square and circle, designers adopted a lot of irregular patterns.’
    • ‘Geometric designs are created by piecing or patching together triangles, squares and rectangles.’
    • ‘Because the square and pentagon have equal areas, they are isoparametric.’
    • ‘They come in two shapes, either a square or a hexagon.’
    • ‘He arranges thin rectangles, squares, triangles and trapezoids in complex patterns on the wall.’
    • ‘In all the pieces, the 12 squares are subdivided into four equal sections by painted lines that stop short of the middle.’
    • ‘Circles, squares or collages of geometric shapes executed in bright acrylic colours float freely on the surface of his paintings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Geometric shapes originate from the square, circle or triangle and organic shapes are free-flowing shapes found in nature.’
    • ‘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. 1.1 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Carpet tiles come precut in twelve- or eighteen-inch 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.’
      • ‘Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured board and trim to a 25 cm-wide circle or square.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Flooring consists of basic white ceramic squares interspersed with alternating colors of 1-inch glass mosaics.’
      • ‘In a large room next to a hangar, two huge boards are covered with small paper squares in yellow, purple and orange.’
      • ‘The walls were lined in mirrored squares and there were even small spotlights reflecting off everything.’
      • ‘To make pinwheels, cut heavy paper or Mylar into 8-inch squares.’
      • ‘We selected a small square of sand bordered by several logs and overhung with a leafy screen and set our bags to the ground.’
      • ‘Cut out 8 squares of tightly woven muslin, 8 squares of felt, and 8 squares of autumn or seasonal print material.’
      • ‘It's a piece of plywood with squares cut out of it.’
      • ‘Adding sticky-back mirror squares at the back of a shelving system of this sort magnifies the space.’
      • ‘Roll out the puff pastry to a square, measuring about 24 cm.’
      • ‘I chose matte ceramic tile for the countertops, and taupe and white matte vinyl squares on the floor.’
      • ‘The quilt is made up of calico squares.’
      • ‘Over breakfast he got a Weetabix carton and cut out two squares and glued them together.’
      • ‘By painting the backs of glass squares ordered from a window glass supplier, you can create distinctive coasters - for yourself or for gifts.’
    2. 1.2 A thing having the shape or approximate shape of a cube.
      ‘a small square of chocolate’
      • ‘He reached in, pulled out a chocolate square and took a big bite.’
      • ‘In French cafés and restaurants, you often get a little square of chocolate wrapped in foil and paper with your coffee.’
      • ‘Joe squealed, finally finding what he was looking for, shoving a square of milk chocolate into his mouth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The interior walls are stucco but for a high wall behind the altar which is covered with squares of plain gray stone.’
      • ‘Pressed tofu, doufu-kan, is also sold in squares, rather smaller, and has a meatier, more chewy texture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then, finally, I eat a single square of gourmet chocolate.’
      • ‘Turn the fudge onto the cutting board and cut into squares.’
      • ‘If I want to eat chocolate, I select pristine Hershey squares.’
      • ‘A sauce was made by boiling down the marinade and adding a square of dark chocolate.’
      • ‘I also had the Lamingtons for dessert, sponge cake squares dipped in chocolate and covered in coconut and served with cream.’
      • ‘When cool, ice with chocolate icing and cut into squares.’
      • ‘In the South, beans get ladled up with lots of the broth and served with a square of corn bread.’
      • ‘Cut the cake into four squares then slice each square into two horizontally.’
      • ‘Drain and chop the tofu into 1cm squares, cover with boiling water for 1 minute, then drain.’
      • ‘Enjoy a single square of dark bittersweet chocolate with a glass of rich, earthy Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I ration myself to two squares of chocolate a day.’
    3. 1.3 A small square area on the board used in a game.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Your move,’ said Adam, moving his rook forward two squares.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A beautiful carved board with 13x13 squares was found at Gokstad in Norway.’
      • ‘Elaborating on the Braille chessboard, he said, the black squares on the board were slightly more raised than the white ones.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every square on the board is labelled by a letter and a number.’
      • ‘Armed with enormous talent and intelligence, Kasparov reigned supreme over the board of 64 squares like none of his great predecessors.’
      • ‘He picked up a rook and moved it forward three squares, capturing a knight, and exposing the king.’
      • ‘The modern game dates from the 15th century, when the board of squares became chequered and the pieces gained their present form.’
      • ‘Players can double and triple letter and word points by strategically using Birdie and Eagle squares on the board.’
      • ‘Based on the traditional 64 - square checkerboard, the game appears simple.’
      • ‘Placed in the center of a board, a Bishop can simply cover more squares than a Knight can.’
      • ‘We have this bingo-type game where you match tokens to squares on a board.’
      • ‘Every time you move, you write the letter for the piece that moved followed by the name of the square it moved to.’
    4. 1.4historical A body of infantry drawn up in rectangular form.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then for about 90 minutes the French made a series of fruitless attacks with unsupported cavalry on unbroken allied infantry squares.’
    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’
    • ‘There will be free performances in the square every day next week, around lunch and tea-time.’
    • ‘Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters filled streets and squares, blocked roads, walked out of schools and universities and temporarily stopped work yesterday.’
    • ‘In Kiev there is a big statue in the square erected in his honor.’
    • ‘The Rio Bravo workers have camped out in the city's main square.’
    • ‘Tonight the pontiff will return to St Peter's Square to celebrate midnight mass.’
    • ‘As thousands of people stood vigil in St. Peter's square all day today, millions more stayed glued to their televisions.’
    • ‘We soon came to a large village square with a beautiful fountain in the center.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As we arrived at the square the normal jumble of carts, wagons, stalls, and milling people that we saw every day greeted us.’
    • ‘Demonstrators were kept tightly packed into the square for more than four hours in the rain without access to any facilities.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘First impressions are that I've found the quintessential Western town, with clapboard houses and little red brick shops lining a tree-shaded square.’
    • ‘Tucked away at the top of the square this small hotel exudes tranquillity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A beer in one of the bars around the square is a convenient way to get your bearings and make a plan.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The center of town was a tree-lined square, surrounded by quaint-looking stores and antique shops.’
    • ‘There is a statue of Nelson in the main square in Bridgetown that pre-dates the one in Trafalgar Square.’
    marketplace, close, quadrangle, quad, courtyard
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 An open area at the meeting of streets.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Leading off the main thoroughfare, a warren of smaller streets and squares provide the perfect retreat for food and beer.’
      • ‘Its narrow streets and squares resonate with the songs of the gondolieri and chatter coming from open-air cafes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Don't miss Trinity College, the streets, parks and squares of Georgian Dublin and the Guinness brewery.’
      • ‘Everyone who has ever been to the city's squares or parks will remember the lovely and docile pigeons.’
      • ‘The streets and squares are almost as beautiful as Verona's, and Trenitalia brought me here in under an hour.’
      • ‘The Bloomsbury Conservation Area is characterised by a planned pattern of streets and squares developed mainly during the 18th and early 19th centuries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2US A block of buildings bounded by four streets.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Security was tight in the US capital and 100 square blocks were sealed to traffic.’
      • ‘There are roughly 9,000 junkies in 30 square blocks in Vancouver's downtown eastside.’
      • ‘Los Angeles has the largest skid row in the nation, stretching across 50 square blocks.’
  • 3The product of a number multiplied by itself.

    ‘a circle's area is proportional to the square of its radius’
    • ‘Asked for the square of 4,395 he hesitated but on the question being repeated he gave the correct answer, namely 19,316,025.’
    • ‘The square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the legs.’
    • ‘On the other hand, 7 is an example of an integer that can't be written as the sum of three squares.’
    • ‘After all, the kinetic energy of any object is equal to half its mass multiplied by the square of its velocity.’
    • ‘An individual's BMI is defined as their weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters.’
    • ‘Assuming a constant wing shape and oscillating stroke, the average lift is proportional to the square of wingbeat frequency.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The quadruple of this is 84, which subtracted from the square of 10, namely 100, yields 16.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The square of an even number is even; 6 is even; therefore, the square of 6 is even.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘BMI measures weight in kilograms divided by the square of one's body height.’
    • ‘He gives some interesting conditions for the decimal representation of a number n to be a square.’
    • ‘The signal-to-noise ratio of FCS measurements is proportional to the square of the molecular brightness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In other words, the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the triangle's two legs.’
    • ‘She received the Ford Prize from the Mathematical Association of America in 1971 for a paper on the sums of squares.’
    • ‘The scalogram is a plot of the sum of the squares of the coefficients at each scale.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Use a drywall square to connect the points and make your cut accordingly.’
    • ‘Using a small square draw a line from this mark across the pointed end of the plywood.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 4.1Astrology An aspect of 90° (one quarter of a circle)
      ‘Venus 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.’
      • ‘Mercury in Sagittarius in the 6th square Mars is not a signature for tact and diplomacy.’
      • ‘Yet he actually had Neptune in square to Jupiter!’
      • ‘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.’
  • 5informal A person considered to be old-fashioned or boringly conventional in attitude or behavior.

    • ‘Come on Maggie: don't be such a square.’
    • ‘She called me so many things … she said I was old-fashioned, stubborn and a square for not allowing her to go.’
    • ‘He's a plodding, conventional square, she's a get-ahead, modern girl who doesn't need to cling to conventional wisdom.’
    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’
    • ‘Mine was a lousy job. There must be a better way of making three squares a day.’
    • ‘Sometimes, you're just too tired - or too busy - to fit in three squares a day.’
    • ‘My crew is pretty lucky, though - I like to see they get 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.’
    • ‘As we said earlier and as history has demonstrated, there's nothing wrong with three squares a day.’
    • ‘You may not need or want to plan a schedule around ‘three squares a day.’’


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

    ‘a square table’
    • ‘I could just pick out enormous square shapes on the seabed below, seemingly arranged in a regular pattern.’
    • ‘The square shape of Scarborough Castle comes into view, and we turn inland.’
    • ‘Therefore, none of the Waldorf classrooms are square; all are angled in such a way as to help the children focus.’
    • ‘The house was a fairly simple square structure with only a few rooms.’
    • ‘He sat down at the small, square table across from her, chuckling a little.’
    • ‘She pointed out that they were different shapes, one slightly squarer, one more rectangular.’
    • ‘There are both round and square tables with excellent access for wheelchairs and walking frames.’
    • ‘It's a trout which migrates to sea, is smaller but chunkier than salmon, has a squarer tail, pink flesh and tastes more delicate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the middle of the room was a large square table.’
    • ‘Now click on the little square box to the left of Snapshot 1.’
    • ‘Ideally you want to have pixels that are approximately square in shape.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Four players stand in a square formation 5 yards away from the receiver, who's in the middle.’
    • ‘I thought it was time for a change from the round glasses I'm used to, so I went for narrower, squarer lenses.’
    • ‘Spread the mixture in a lightly oiled square ovenproof dish and use the spoon to flatten the surface.’
    • ‘A small square table with two wooden chairs on each side was positioned in the middle of the room.’
    • ‘The cliffs behind me were green and lush with ferns, and there were square white buildings nestled into the vegetation.’
    • ‘These stairs were shorter, leading down to a simple square room.’
    quadrilateral, rectangular, oblong, right-angled, at right angles, perpendicular
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Having the shape or approximate shape of a cube.
      ‘a square box’
      • ‘My mom handed both the little girls a blue square box.’
      • ‘Castle builders realised that round towers had more strength than conventional square ones.’
      • ‘Nobody wants an ugly square box taking up prominent shelf space in the living room.’
      • ‘‘Here, I got you a little something,’ she says, handing me a flat, square package.’
      • ‘I bought a Bounty and ate it on the bus as we dove through the dirty square blocks of the southern suburbs.’
      • ‘Instead, he fishes out a square ice cream bar wrapped in silver foil.’
      • ‘Most of the competition entries were conventional square buildings - very few had any softening of their lines.’
      • ‘It is a square box with two gears on top and a switch on the side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A huge mound of square granite blocks can still be seen at the base of the Koppie.’
      • ‘Marvolo reached inside his pocket and pulled out a small square navy blue box.’
      • ‘Opening the bag, she took out a square box and gaped at the picture.’
      • ‘The ‘glass’ was a square block of ice with a hole in the centre.’
      • ‘He laid out the revolver, an aerosol can, some superglue and a brightly wrapped square box on the back seat.’
      • ‘The two chocolates will be presented in a square box, which matches the colour of the bridesmaids' dresses.’
      • ‘In my day we only had the simplest of Lego pieces - just square blocks.’
      • ‘He handed me a square flat black box with a white ribbon.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With a light shake of his head, Michael laughed and drained the last of his Coke, square ice cubes clinking against the clear glass.’
    2. 1.2 Having or in the form of two right angles.
      ‘a suitable length of wood with square ends’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No angle is square, so it's more time consuming and is much more expensive.’
      • ‘Take the optical cable that came with your MD Recorder and plug the square end into your sound card.’
      • ‘Failing to make your foundation square is the easiest way to have an awful time building a greenhouse.’
    3. 1.3 Having an outline resembling two corners of a square.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘His jaw had become squarer, his eyebrows bushier, and his hair much coarser.’
      • ‘Rue seemed glad to be able to turn her attention back to the attractive man with the square jaw and jade-green eyes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was kind of cute with a square jaw and golden blonde hair.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was a man in his late forties with a square jaw and flaming red hair.’
      • ‘She'd obviously inherited her mother's elegant features, but combined with her father's square jaw, it made her look severe and tense.’
      • ‘This whole cover is one piece of aluminum bent into a U shape, with square windows on all sides.’
      • ‘He's very muscular and has a chiselled physique and square jaw.’
      • ‘Her square jaw was set, and she looked somehow as if she was trying not to think at all.’
      • ‘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 other male was older, about thirty-five and taller, with a well-built physique and a square jaw.’
      • ‘For example, if they are ovulating they find a rugged looking face with a square jaw and masculine features the most attractive.’
      • ‘He has a square jaw, a scar above his top lip and a gold stud in his left nostril.’
      • ‘His jet-black hair was cropped short, just as fighting men of the time wore it, and his chiseled features emphasized his square jaw.’
      • ‘Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor who plays Arenas, has a remarkable head: square jaw, large doe eyes, broken nose, curly hair.’
      • ‘You can see the determination in the square outline of his jaw, the jutting staunchness of his features.’
      • ‘He was burly with dark, weathered skin and a wide, square jaw.’
      • ‘Two days worth of facial hair accentuated his firm, square jaw.’
      • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘She had a square face and long broad facial features.’
      • ‘I have a difficult time finding cute or elegant clothes that flatter my shorter and squarer figure.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has well-defined square, straight shoulders and a muscular chest kept remarkably youthful by a healthy exercise regimen.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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 new East End National Park will be the smallest in the country, covering just 20 square kilometres.’
    • ‘An average de-miner can clear approximately 20 to 50 square meters a day.’
    • ‘It has been estimated that an individual polar bear will cover an area equal to 259,000 square kilometres during its lifetime.’
    • ‘In fact the total area of cloud forest is something like 400,000 square kilometres.’
    • ‘The £3 million fund will be used to fill potholes across two million square metres of road.’
    • ‘The two-storey Victorian property has 242 square metres of living space.’
    • ‘The British Galleries occupy about thirty-four hundred square meters of space on two floors.’
    • ‘A group of otters has a feeding territory of 7 to 12 square kilometers.’
    • ‘But with six million square miles of ocean, drug runners often elude authorities.’
    • ‘For the finest work, it takes four weavers three months to finish a rug that measures six square meters (about seven square yards).’
    • ‘Real estate agents said the four units have a total floor area of about 5,700 square feet.’
    • ‘Within the 416 square miles of the park there are 355 miles of hiking trails.’
    • ‘Already the southern Russian desert is increasing by 500 square kilometres every year.’
    • ‘The reserve lies in the centre of the delta and occupies 3,000 square kilometres.’
    • ‘In 15 years, the average American home has grown by almost eight square meters.’
    • ‘The current International Exhibition Center has just over 60,000 square meters of floor space.’
    • ‘The water park covers 40 square miles south of Cirencester and has 140 man-made lakes.’
    • ‘More than a quarter of the mainland, 2.6 million square km, is now desert.’
    • ‘In 1998 the site owners refurbished 30 units on the site, covering about 3100 square metres.’
    • ‘So Colonel Hickey ordered nearly two square miles blocked off, and an intensive search began.’
    1. 2.1postpositive Denoting the length of each side of a square shape or object.
      ‘the office was fifteen feet square’
      • ‘He had begun work on a small cabin, approximately twelve to thirteen feet square.’
      • ‘At present our sports hall is tiny - about nine metres square.’
      • ‘No bags, rucksacks or backpacks larger than eight inches square will be allowed beyond the ticket and security checkpoints.’
      • ‘The 60 mostly uninhabited islands which comprise the group lie within an area only 20 miles square.’
      • ‘The recorder, a four-inch square metal box, is currently installed in most recent GM vehicles and select 2000 and later Ford vehicles.’
      • ‘We were in a bare cell measuring about ten yards 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.’
      • ‘His office is a five metres square room reached down a long corridor, one floor above the concourse at London's Euston station.’
      • ‘They were clinging to a rock about 4 metres square and barely one metre above the sea.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 3At right angles; perpendicular.

    ‘these lines must be square to the top and bottom marked edges’
    • ‘Tack the lower two boards directly to your workbench to help hold the jig square.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘It is in square aspect to the Sun and Mercury in Scorpio, which occupy the ninth house.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Uranus is square Venus so relationships may end suddenly with no warning.’
  • 4Level or parallel.

    ‘place one piece of wood on top of the other, ensuring that they are exactly square’
    • ‘Use the 3-4 - 5 triangle technique to check that your lines are perfectly square.’
    • ‘Keep your hips square to the ceiling, and try to avoid letting your pelvis rotate.’
    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’
      • ‘She had been as square with him as anybody could be until he got nasty over nothing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Fulke pulls his game back to all square at the 16th after Love narrowly misses a putt from the edge of the green.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It seems to have escaped the attention of certain parts of the BBC that we are all square with two tests still to play.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Much to Chríost Rí's dismay, they were all square at the end of the first quarter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Former Castlebar Celtic player Danny Lawless also went close for Snugboro but despite the best efforts off both teams the game ended all square.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wilsden then equalised from a corner to make it all square at the break.’
      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.’
    • ‘I'm so glad that I look so square that nobody ever offers me drugs.’
    • ‘I think he was either too square or too hip to even know who Mike Read was.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘From now on, he would no longer be boring old Harry the square Republican.’
    • ‘Perhaps if these teachers paid attention to the way they dressed, English classes wouldn't be so square.’
    • ‘The main courses were a bit square, but still good.’
    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’
    • ‘Tyler threw a right hook hitting the guy square in the jaw; very nearly breaking it.’
    • ‘Sheldon grabbed a piece of wood, twisted her body around and hit the man square in the face.’
    • ‘It looks to me like he hit you square on.’
    • ‘I flicked my red pen at him, hitting him square in the chest.’
    • ‘He turns around and kicks the photographer square in the forehead.’
    • ‘Franklin felt as if a ton of bricks had landed square in the middle of his chest.’
    • ‘She swung her foot around behind her and kicked him square in the chest.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With full speed she aimed directly at Allison's face and with full force punched her 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.’


  • 1Make square or rectangular; give a square or rectangular cross section to.

    ‘you can square off the other edge’
    • ‘Cut the roll into six equal pieces and square off the ends.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    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’
    • ‘‘When air traffic doubles, the risk of collision is squared,’ he said.’
    • ‘The revulsion we still feel when women rather than men commit murders became revulsion squared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Such a sequence consists of the remainders, or residues, after squaring consecutive whole numbers, then dividing them by a given prime number.’
    • ‘Well, when September 1st falls on a Monday, it's like Monday squared: new school term, new resolutions, new week, new season etc.’
    • ‘If you square the radius times the pi, you will get the circle's space.’
    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’
      • ‘It occupies a continental surface area of 27,791,810 km squared.’
      • ‘The average heat loss from a single glazed window is 5 watts per metre squared.’
      • ‘I don't actually know how many metres squared my house is.’
      • ‘Surface gravity is just under nine meters per second squared.’
      • ‘A newton has a mass unit of kilograms and an acceleration unit of meters squared per second.’
  • 3Make compatible; reconcile.

    ‘I'm able to square my profession with my religious beliefs’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I find this hard to square with Christian moral teaching.’
    • ‘I don't see how this can be squared with what Hillman is now telling us.’
    • ‘He is asked how he can square the bellicose God of the Old Testament with his ideas on peace and love.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘It was hard to square their primitive lifestyle with their incredible abilities.’
    • ‘But Edwards's public face remains relentlessly cheerful, and it's hard to square with the devastation he endured.’
    • ‘How will she square this with her conscience?’
    • ‘Surely, though, such a decision would be hard to square with the government's liberalisation of media ownership contained in its own Communications Act.’
    • ‘He has yet to explain how he will square these policies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The idea that ‘we are all guilty’ is a trendy modern notion, but one I can't square with the words of Christ.’
    • ‘But it is impossible to square his account with reports published by, for example, the Washington Post.’
    • ‘Arguments for the existence of free will are hard to square with scientific advances which show how to bend the will.’
    • ‘How can I square my urge to support her with the fact that she has behaved so badly?’
    • ‘Here, too, the facts are hard to square with the argument.’
    • ‘I had always been into science, and I didn't know how to square the book of Genesis with the things I had read.’
    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?’
      • ‘Simply put, his audio account doesn't seem to square with the video record in the documentary.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How does that square with Christianity, which has at times been skeptical of wealth and capitalism?’
      • ‘While the figures cannot be confirmed, they square with many other estimates circulating in recent years.’
      • ‘How does that square with the Tory belief in self-determination?’
      • ‘Now, how does that square with their earlier statement?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What isn't completely clear yet is how what leaders at all levels said during these conferences squared with reality on the ground.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Still, any teaching of evolution was opposed by creationists, on the ground that it didn't square with a literal reading of the Bible.’
      • ‘So how does that square with Congressional ethics rules?’
      • ‘Quite how this dose of reality squared with her own beliefs escapes me to this day.’
      • ‘Although the losses have been severe, the charge that those jobs were eliminated by foreign competition simply doesn't square with the facts.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His recollection of the events of that night doesn't square with reality.’
      • ‘However, this doesn't square with Brimelow's worldview, so he ignores it.’
      • ‘There is something about preparing food for Christmas that doesn't quite square with modern life.’
      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’
    • ‘Foreign currency experts believe institutions are anxious to square their books ahead of the election.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Austin promised Telenor a consultancy invoice to square their accounts.’
    • ‘If the other pitcher threw at one of your players, then you had to square the account.’
    1. 4.1 Make the score of (a match or game) even.
      with object and complement ‘his goal squared the match 1-1’
      • ‘Butcher kept alive his team's hopes of squaring the three-match series with his second consecutive half-century.’
      • ‘Garcia made the birdie at the eleventh to square the match.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Chances are we could have squared the series by winning the second Test.’
      • ‘He squared the contest on the 11th and took the lead for the first time on the 15th.’
      • ‘I'd like to see England win this one and square 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.’
      • ‘And indeed eight minutes into the half he squared the match with another free kick.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Twist, the number one seed, missed a great chance to square the match at 8-8.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But after I won three of the next four holes to square the match, suddenly I was flying high.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Williams was forced to use high-risk all-or-nothing tactics which backfired as Seles squared the match then secured victory.’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘I think I just need to move on,’ Zoe said squaring her shoulders and raising her chin.’
    • ‘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 turned on him, squaring her shoulders and holding her head high.’
    • ‘Then, squaring his shoulders, he grasped the door handle with resolve.’
    • ‘Michael squared his shoulders and put on a brave face.’
    • ‘Taking a deep breath and squaring her shoulders, she descended the stairs to the hall.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘He cleared his throat and squared his shoulders.’
    • ‘Now, faced with something that had nearly frightened her to death, she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and turned the doorknob.’
    • ‘Kevin straightened and squared his broad shoulders.’
    • ‘He became very stiff and squared his shoulders when I raised the subject, as if to say: here we go again, okay, okay.’
    • ‘And squaring her shoulders, she bravely marched into the throng of people.’
    • ‘In an aggressive situation we stand tall and square our shoulders, just like other mammals.’
    • ‘Sighing, I squared my shoulders and prepared myself for the nightmare soon to commence.’
    • ‘At first Lydia was uncomfortable, but then she seemed to square her shoulders and prepare herself.’
    • ‘Anne Marie squared her shoulders and forced a smile.’
    • ‘Shrugging off his fear, he squared his shoulders grimly.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.’
    • ‘Then, Saturn squares the Sun on February 26.’
    • ‘Your planetary ruler, Saturn, squares the Virgo Moon on Thursday.’
    • ‘Most of the charts had a square to the Moon and the planet squaring the Moon was Pluto or Uranus.’
    • ‘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.’


  • back to (or at) square one

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

      • ‘In 1999 we lost all of our good players and went back to square one.’
      • ‘‘It is the same knee problem as before and it looks as if it is back to square one for him,’ said Lehmann.’
      • ‘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 after only four months, the owner announced he was closing it down and they were back to square one.’
      • ‘I think that the prosecution and the police have gone 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He made his comeback a year later but after 12 games he was back to square one.’
  • 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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The installer should be alert to an out of rack condition that can be caused by allowing the floor to get out of square.’
      • ‘A problem you might encounter is that over the years, the window may have gotten out of square.’
      • ‘When left open they tend to strain at the hinges and pull the door out of square.’
      • ‘In many older houses, walls can be out of square and floors out of level.’
      • ‘A representative from the window supplier inspected the problem and said the windows were out of square and needed to be shimmed.’
  • square the circle

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

      • ‘One of the mathematical problems which ibn al-Haytham attacked was the problem of squaring the circle.’
      • ‘This was the age when people were still optimistic of squaring the circle by a geometrical construction.’
      • ‘Three geometric construction problems from antiquity puzzled mathematicians for centuries: the trisection of an angle, squaring the circle, and duplicating the cube.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is usually claimed that Dinostratus used the quadratrix, discovered by Hippias, to solve the problem of squaring the circle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Despite the apparent chasm between the parties, the Prime Minister's spokesman was optimistic that the governments would be able to square the circle.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘House builders have to square the circle of complying with government policy yet meeting customer demands for larger properties in peaceful locations.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • square something away

    • Arrange or deal with something in a satisfactory way.

      ‘don't you worry, we'll get things squared away’
      • ‘With business itself, most of the key industry groups were squared away privately during and immediately after the deal's negotiation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You know our stand on supplements - they work well, but only after your diet is squared away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Three siblings are squared away in other ranches, so there is no inter-family competition for the 900-acre home farm.’
      • ‘Norwood didn't think he'd squared it away with Blake.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One more championship will square it away for me.’
      • ‘All you have to do is square everything away with her parents.’
      • ‘Both teams squared away the three-game test series in front of appreciative crowds.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As they square up for the fourth time in their careers, Roddick leads their head-to-head rivalry 2-1.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cooper refused three attempts by police to get him to provide a breath test and squared up to and threatened an officer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 two players squared up and had to be separated by Ferdinand and others before order was restored by Eriksson's assistant coach, Steve McClaren.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was in his element, playing the role he relishes the most: the little guy squaring up for a fight with the establishment.’
  • 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’
        • ‘That's a long-term issue that we still have to square up to.’
        • ‘Marjorie and Kathleen, played by Beryl Nairn and Anne Cooper, seem to take comfort in squaring up to the reality of their situation.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Our leaders need to find the drive, commitment and resources to square up to the challenge.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The Minister is squaring up to raise tax levels.’
        • ‘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.’


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