square the circle

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Related to Squaring the circle: Doubling the cube

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 ?
His comic play Kvadratura kruga (1928; Squaring the Circle) portrays the effect of the housing shortage on two married couples who share a room.
The ancient Greeks had their favorite problems and one of them was squaring the circle; that is, given a circle of a particular size, to construct a square with the same area.
Laczkovich has now proved that "squaring the circle" is possible, provided that the pieces have the right form.
His topics include the formative years, in the Czechoslovak first republic, the politics of exile 1939-45, help for the Jews, squaring the circle: diaspora politics in post-war Czechoslovakia, and the second exile.
Good luck on squaring the circle between summoning up the vital intensity needed to beat the Aussies while ensuring your elite aren't denied the chance for a huge earner in India.
Therefore, pi could not serve as a solution for any conceivable polynomial equation, and that meant that the problem of squaring the circle by straight-edge and compass in a finite number of steps (see 1837) was impossible.