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square off (for something)
to get ready for an argument or a fight. John was angry and appeared to be squaring off for a fight. When those two square off, everyone gets out of the way.
square something off
to make something square; to trim something until it is square. You will have to square this corner off a bit so it will match the part it will be attached to. Please square off this corner.
to oppose someone directly Two teams of students square off and earn points for answering questions correctly. Candidates are supposed to square off in a debate and focus on the issues.
Etymology: from the meaning in boxing of square off (to take a position that shows you are ready to fight)
Take a fighting stance, prepare to fight, as in As they squared off, the teacher came out and stopped them, or The ambassador said the two countries were squaring off. [First half of 1800s]
1. To make something square or rectangular: The carpenter squared the plank off with a table saw. The designer has squared off the toe of the shoe.
2. To assume a fighting stance; prepare to fight: The two fighters squared off and exchanged blows.
3. To face someone or something in a competition or debate: The two candidates will square off in a debate. The team squared off against its longtime rival. The governor prepared to square off with legislators over the new tax bill.
in. to prepare to fight; to prepare to argue or compete. They were squaring off, so I asked them if they’d like to step outside.