on the square


Honestly and openly, as in Our dealings with them have always been on the square. This expression literally means “at right angles.” Similarly the antonym out of square, literally signifying “not at right angles,” figuratively means “not in agreement” or “irregular.” For example, The lab's report is out of square with the x-ray. The first recorded use of this term was in 1542.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.