square peg in a round hole

Also, round peg in a square hole. A misfit, especially a person unsuited for a position or activity. For example, Ruth doesn't have the finesse for this job; she's a round peg in a square hole. This idiom, with its graphic image of something that cannot fit, dates from about 1800.


Nearby words

  1. square number,
  2. square of opposition,
  3. square off,
  4. square one,
  5. square one's shoulders,
  6. square piano,
  7. square rod,
  8. square root,
  9. square sail,
  10. square serif

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