square the circle


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square the circle

To solve, or attempt to solve, an impossible (or seemingly impossible) problem or situation. I'm not sure what to tell you, but if you take that issue to the boss, I bet he'll be able to square the circle.
See also: circle, square

square the circle

Try to do the impossible, as in Getting that bill through the legislature is the same as trying to square the circle. This idiom alludes to the impossibility of turning a circle into a square. John Donne may have been the first to use it ( Sermons, 1624): "Go not thou about to square either circle (God or thyself)."
See also: circle, square

square the circle

COMMON If you try to square the circle, you try to solve a problem that seems to be impossible to solve. All have the same hope: that foreign markets and, especially, foreign investment will somehow provide enough jobs to square the circle.
See also: circle, square

square the circle

do something that is considered to be impossible.
In its literal sense, square the circle means ‘construct a square equal in area to a given circle’. Since this problem is incapable of a purely geometrical solution, the phrase has developed a more general application and is used to refer to an attempt to do something impossible.
See also: circle, square

square the ˈcircle

(try to) do something that is or seems impossible: The Government is trying to square the circle when it says it will spend more on the health service without raising taxes.This is a mathematical task that was considered impossible, involving making a square exactly equal in area to a particular circle.
See also: circle, square
References in periodicals archive ?
Skilfully plotted as seemingly innocuous thoughts and descriptions return to help square the circle, come the dramatic denouement, former footballer and rock star Nesbo also uses the vast, cold landscapes of Norway to excellent effect in building dread and deepening this well-crafted mystery.
DEAR Editor, Can someone please square the circle for me surrounding the need to make our city a clean air zone and the heralding of more steam train services in and around Birmingham?
As he tries to square the circle of the public finances, this is bad Philip Hammond news to Chancellor Philip Hammond.
I don't have to square the circle of conflicting foreign policy objectives or pretend interests or pretend no interests,' said Mr Baum.
It is simply impossible to square the circle of a one?State reality with the legitimate national, historic and democratic aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.
He said: "I find it difficult to square the circle of having a customs partnership which is very like the union we have now but at the same time Britain engaging in trade deals with third parties.
Might it be she really doesn't know, cannot square the circle of freedom of movement and access to the single market?
The Swiss government is trying to square the circle of implementing a cut in EU immigration decided upon in a 2014 referendum without rendering an economically important set of treaties with the 28-country bloc void.
And when we hear the majority of hospitals are in deficit we realise that to square the circle in the NHS has gone from extremely difficult to almost mission impossible.
This realistic attitude will put Obama at odds with those who back his earlier tough position on Al Assad in both the US and abroad, but it follows on a recent statement by US Secretary John Kerry, in which he sought to square the circle by agreeing that Al Assad must go, but by being deliberately vague on when that would be required.
For two years, the discretionary housing fund has been used to square the circle for the most vulnerable.
Attempts to "square the circle" yield a parade of more exact calculations through history to Shiguro Kondo's calculation of pi's trillionth decimal place in 2011 using a home computer.
Vague council in-house talk about now departed souls, and mere promises of no more cover-ups, do not square the circle.
"With enterprises under constant pressure to do more with less, CIO's need to 'square the circle' by delivering cost savings, providing new solutions to drive the business and meeting user expectations of their client devices -- and they need to do it fast," said Antoine Harb, Business Development Manager, Kingston Technology.
"You can square the circle of having really good people not on telephone number salaries and massive built-in bonuses," he told the programme.