from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A plane figure having four equal sides.
  • noun Something having an equal-sided rectangular form.
  • noun A T-shaped or L-shaped instrument for drawing or testing right angles.
  • noun Mathematics The product obtained when a number or quantity is multiplied by itself.
  • noun Games Any of the quadrilateral spaces on a board, as in chess.
  • noun An open, usually four-sided area at the intersection of two or more streets, often planted with grass and trees for use as a park.
  • noun A rectangular space enclosed by streets and occupied by buildings; a block.
  • noun The flower bud of a cotton plant, with three bracts surrounding the unopened flower in a pyramidal structure.
  • noun Slang A person who is regarded as dull, rigidly conventional, and out of touch with current trends.
  • adjective Having four equal sides and four right angles.
  • adjective Forming a right angle.
  • adjective In alignment or flush.
  • adjective Expressed in units measuring area.
  • adjective Having a specified length in each of two equal dimensions.
  • adjective Having a base that is a square.
  • adjective Nautical Set at right angles to the mast and keel. Used of the yards of a square-rigged ship.
  • adjective Approximately rectangular and equilateral in cross section.
  • adjective Characterized by blocklike solidity or sturdiness.
  • adjective Honest; direct.
  • adjective Just; equitable.
  • adjective Having all accounts settled; even.
  • adjective Sports Even; tied.
  • adjective Slang Rigidly conventional; dull.
  • intransitive verb To cut to a square or rectangular shape. Often used with off.
  • intransitive verb To test or adjust for conformity to a desired plane, straight line, or right angle.
  • intransitive verb To mark into squares. Often used with off.
  • intransitive verb To bring into conformity or agreement.
  • intransitive verb To bring (oneself) into a better position or relation.
  • intransitive verb To set straight or at approximate right angles.
  • intransitive verb To bring into balance; settle.
  • intransitive verb Sports To even the score of.
  • intransitive verb To raise (a number or quantity) to the second power.
  • intransitive verb To find a square equal in area to (the area of a given figure).
  • intransitive verb Informal To bribe or fix.
  • intransitive verb Mathematics To be at right angles.
  • intransitive verb To agree or conform.
  • adverb Mathematics At right angles.
  • adverb In a square shape.
  • adverb In a solid manner; firmly.
  • adverb Directly; straight.
  • adverb In an honest, straightforward manner.
  • idiom Mathematics (on the square) At right angles.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French esquarre, from Vulgar Latin *exquadra, from *exquadrāre, to square : Latin ex-, ex- + quadrāre, to give a square shape to (from quadrum, a square; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French esquarre (French équerre), from Vulgar Latin *exquadra, from Latin quadra ("square").


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  • A square, a circle, a triangle, or any other form but that of an _oblong square_, would be eminently incorrect and unmasonic, because such a figure would not be an expression of the symbolic idea which is intended to be conveyed.

    The Symbolism of Freemasonry Albert G. Mackey

  • Population in 1860, remaining the same per Population in 1860, remaining square mile, if area equal to that of South the same per _square mile_, if

    The Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 5, May, 1864 Devoted To Literature And National Policy Various

  • Now observe, in the ornament close to the eye, you had _six figures_ and a whole wreath of roses in the space of _a foot and a half_ square; but in the ornament sixty feet from the eye, you have now only ten or twelve large _leaves_ in a space of _eight feet square_! and note also that now there is no attempt whatsoever at the refinement of line and finish of edge which there was in the other example.

    Lectures on Architecture and Painting Delivered at Edinburgh in November 1853 John Ruskin 1859

  • II. i.30 (23,1) [But they do square] [To _square_ here is to quarrel.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • Just a block from Scanton's main square is the headquarters of Joe Sestak, Toomey's Democratic opponent.

    US midterms: Americans driven to the polls by fear in the Halloween elections Paul Harris 2010

  • Here's the Zocalo or main square from the roof-top restaurant of a hotel (the location in the past few weeks of a Spencer Tunick nude photo shoot and a free Shakira concert which drew 210,000 people) --

    The Legal Underground: 2007

  • The main square is called “Rynek” (which basically means “central market place”), and in the middle there are two buildings: “Ratusz” or City Hall (compare with German “Rathaus”) and “Sukiennice”, a long one-level building not unlike a bazaar, filled with stores.

    Matthew Yglesias » Krakow 2007

  • The square in square is going to be harder to work with, as there are several places where there is just no seam allowance beyond the points; I'll be forced to chop some of them off when adding the border, though hopefully not too many.

    Not a total loss... katelnorth 2006

  • The square in square is going to be harder to work with, as there are several places where there is just no seam allowance beyond the points; I'll be forced to chop some of them off when adding the border, though hopefully not too many.

    Archive 2006-09-01 katelnorth 2006

  • Just south of Patzcuaro's main square is an outdoor market, itself a virtual Wal-Mart, where shoppers can find everything from avocados and mangoes to extension cords and pirated DVDs.

    Walmart in Patzcuaro? 2005


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  • Cricket jargon - at right-angles to the pitch, from to the point of view of the batsman on strike.

    December 2, 2007

  • Ok, that definition up there seriously needs revising. I'm thinking more like extremely out-of-date dudes.

    February 26, 2008

  • Ha! Welcome to WordNet (or as it's affectionately known in these parts, WeirdNet), cricket. You'll see some really whacked-out definitions there, but they're there for a reason: to spark conversation. So in that sense, they're wildly successful.

    I like your definition better: "extremely out-of-date dudes" should definitely be in the dictionary.

    February 26, 2008

  • Actually, if you click on the "more" button, you'll see approximately a gazillion other definitions, a few of which approach that particular meaning. :-)

    February 26, 2008

  • Where I'm from, a "square" is a cigarette. One of my favorite slang words.

    October 8, 2008

  • also a kind of sail shape and rigging.

    October 11, 2008

  • An L and a 7.

    October 27, 2011

  • An L and a 7.

    I cannot let this stand. Nobody writes sevens with a right-angle in them. Furthermore many of us write them with little continental crosses. But whether or not you cross your 7's, they are more semi-rhomboid in character than semi-square. I'm all for pushing boundaries, but this goes too far.


    October 27, 2011

  • See L7.

    October 27, 2011

  • "To mark with lines forming squares, as paper for mathematical use; mark off in squares. See coördinate paper." --CD&C

    March 8, 2012