a round peg in a square hole

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a round peg in a square hole

A person who does not fit in or is not comfortable with others or in a particular situation; someone who is unsuited to a certain task, position, situation, or group of people. (A variant of the more common "square peg in a round hole.") It only took three months to realize I was a round peg in a square hole at the firm. I guess I've just been raised not to buy into the whole corporate hierarchy of modern business. John was a bit of a round peg in a square hole throughout high school, but when he went to college, he found all sorts of people he could relate to.
See also: hole, peg, round, square

round peg in a square hole, a

A misfit, one not suited for the job or position at hand. This graphic image was being transferred to individuals unsuited for various tasks by 1800 or so. Occasionally it was (and still is) put the other way, a square peg in a round hole. Historian Albany Fonblanque used both (England under Seven Administrations, 1836): “Sir Robert Peel was a smooth round peg in a sharp-cornered square hole, and Lord Lyndhurst is a rectangular square-cut peg in a smooth round hole.”
See also: peg, round, square
References in periodicals archive ?
Trying to force a round peg in a square hole is impossible.
He was often a round peg in a square hole and his commitment to social legislation sometimes brought Tory governments to grief -- the best example is his 1896 education bill which, if passed, could have changed the future for Church schools.