round peg in a square hole, a

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

square peg in a round hole

Fig. someone who is uncomfortable or who does not belong in a particular situation. (Also the cliché: trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, trying to combine two things that do not belong or fit together.) I feel like a square peg in a round hole at my office. Everyone else there seems so ambitious, competitive, and dedicated to the work, but I just want to make a living. Trying to teach me math is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I'm convinced my brain is not built right to understand algebra.
See also: hole, peg, round, square

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.
See also: hole, peg, round, square

square peg (in a round hole)

n. someone who does not fit in. I’m a square peg in a round hole. Maybe I am meant to be eccentric.
See also: hole, peg, round, square

square peg in a round hole

Informal
A misfit.
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

square peg in a round hole

A misfit. Its origin attributed to the 19th-century British philosopher and cleric Sydney Smith, the phrase has been used in a business context to describe someone who doesn't fit in to corporate culture, isn't a team player, and therefore stands little chance of corporate advancement.
See also: hole, peg, round, square