Slang dictionary

pack of squares

[pak uhv skwairz]

What does pack of squares mean?

A pack of squares is slang for a "pack of cigarettes."

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Related words

๐Ÿšฌ Cigarette emoji, jonesing, blem, The Chronic

Where does pack of squares come from?

Lindsay Fox / Flickr

Square has been slang for cigarettes since at least the 1960s. According to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, squareย originates as prison slang for factory-made cigarettes, whether issued in prison or sold commercially.

And why would cigarettesโ€”which are not at all rectangular in shapeโ€”be dubbed squares? That’s apparently due to the fact the paper used to roll them are square in shape. It may also be influenced by the fact that packs of cigarettes (or of rolling papers) are square in shape.


In Black English, squareย has specifically referred to a tobacco (vs. marijuana) cigarette by at least the 1970s, when squares and pack of squares begins to spread in more mainstream culture. We can find squares andย pack of squares in the lyrics of popular music, such as hip-hop group Public Enemy’s 1987 “Megablast” (“Cryin’ all the tears, smokin’ all the squares”) and punk band Big Black’s “Things To Do Today” (“Buy a pack of squares “) the same year.


Examples of pack of squares

Just left my auntie crib n I smell like a pack of squares
@PageKennelli, February 2019
With nothing better to do I rode to S.A. / And tried to steal a pack of squares / Man I miss being a kid with no cares
Eyedea, "Infrared Roses" (song), 2001
Neumann's daughter told police that later that morning she overheard him telling his wife he shot a man "over a pack of squares," a reference to a pack of cigarettes.
Ann Smajstrla, WHBQ, January 2019

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Who uses pack of squares?

Smokers are the biggest users of the slangย square, which has spread from the prison population to the general public.

If a nicotine-needer is out of smokes, they may ask to bum a squareย from someone who has a pack of squares.

The phrase specifically means “cigarettes,” so don’t go using it if you are looking to smoke some other substance rolled in paper.

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