n., adj., adv., & v.
n. 1 an equilateral rectangle. 2 a an object of this shape or approximately this shape. b a small square area on a game-board. c a square scarf. d an academic cap with a stiff square top; a mortarboard. 3 a an open (usu. four-sided) area surrounded by buildings, esp. one planted with trees etc. and surrounded by houses. b an open area at the meeting of streets. c Cricket a closer-cut area at the centre of a ground, any strip of which may be prepared as a wicket. d an area within barracks etc. for drill. e US a block of buildings bounded by four streets. 4 the product of a number multiplied by itself (81 is the square of 9). 5 an L-shaped or T-shaped instrument for obtaining or testing right angles. 6 sl. a conventional or old-fashioned person, one ignorant of or opposed to current trends. 7 a square arrangement of letters, figures, etc. 8 a body of infantry drawn up in rectangular form. 9 a unit of 100 sq. ft. as a measure of flooring etc. 10 US a square meal (three squares a day).
adj. 1 having the shape of a square. 2 having or in the form of a right angle (table with square corners). 3 angular and not round; of square section (has a square jaw). 4 designating a unit of measure equal to the area of a square whose side is one of the unit specified (square metre). 5 (often foll. by with) a level, parallel. b on a proper footing; even, quits. 6 a (usu. foll. by to) at right angles. b Cricket on a line through the stumps at right angles to the wicket. 7 having the breadth more nearly equal to the length or height than is usual (a man of square frame). 8 properly arranged; in good order, settled (get things square). 9 (also all square) a not in debt, with no money owed. b having equal scores, esp. Golf having won the same number of holes as one's opponent. c (of scores) equal. 10 fair and honest (his dealings are not always quite square). 11 uncompromising, direct, thorough (was met with a square refusal). 12 sl. conventional or old-fashioned, unsophisticated, conservative (cf. sense 6 of n.). 13 Mus. (of rhythm) simple, straightforward.
adv. 1 squarely (sat square on his seat). 2 fairly, honestly (play square).
v. 1 tr. make square or rectangular, give a rectangular cross-section to (timber etc.). 2 tr. multiply (a number) by itself (3 squared is 9). 3 tr. & intr. (usu. foll. by to, with) adjust; make or be suitable or consistent; reconcile (the results do not square with your conclusions). 4 tr. mark out in squares. 5 tr. settle or pay (a bill etc.). 6 tr. place (one's shoulders etc.) squarely facing forwards. 7 tr. colloq. a pay or bribe. b secure the acquiescence etc. of (a person) in this way. 8 tr. (also absol.) make the scores of (a match etc.) all square. 9 intr. assume the attitude of a boxer. 10 tr. Naut. a lay (yards) at right angles with the keel making them at the same time horizontal. b get (dead-eyes) horizontal. c get (ratlines) horizontal and parallel to one another. back to square one colloq. back to the starting-point with no progress made. get square with pay or compound with (a creditor). on the square adj. 1 colloq. honest, fair. 2 having membership of the Freemasons.
adv. colloq. honestly, fairly (can be trusted to act on the square). out of square not at right angles. perfect square = square number. square accounts with see ACCOUNT. square away US tidy up. square-bashing Brit. Mil. sl. drill on a barrack-square. square brackets brackets of the form [ ]. square-built of comparatively broad shape. square the circle 1 construct a square equal in area to a given circle (a problem incapable of a purely geometrical solution). 2 do what is impossible. square dance a dance with usu. four couples facing inwards from four sides. square deal a fair bargain, fair treatment. squared paper paper marked out in squares, esp. for plotting graphs. square-eyed joc. affected by or given to excessive viewing of television. square leg Cricket 1 the fielding position at some distance on the batsman's leg side and nearly opposite the stumps. 2 a fielder in this position. square meal a substantial and satisfying meal. square measure measure expressed in square units. square number the square of an integer e.g. 1, 4, 9, 16. square off 1 US assume the attitude of a boxer. 2 Austral. placate or conciliate. 3 mark out in squares. square peg in a round hole see PEG. square piano an early type of piano, small and oblong in shape. square-rigged with the principal sails at right angles to the length of the ship and extended by horizontal yards slung to the mast by the middle (opp. fore-and-aft rigged). square root the number that multiplied by itself gives a specified number (3 is the square root of 9). square sail a four-cornered sail extended on a yard slung to the mast by the middle. square-shouldered with broad and not sloping shoulders (cf. round-shouldered). square-toed 1 (of shoes or boots) having square toes. 2 wearing such shoes or boots. 3 formal, prim. square up settle an account etc. square up to 1 move towards (a person) in a fighting attitude. 2 face and tackle (a difficulty etc.) resolutely. square wave Physics a wave with periodic sudden alternations between only two values of quantity. squarely adv. squareness n. squarer n. squarish adj.
[ ME f. OF esquare, esquarré, esquarrer, ult. f. EX-(1) + L quadra square ]