square peg into a round hole

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

square peg into a round hole (plural square pegs into round holes)

  1. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?) (idiomatic) Something or someone that does not fit well or at all; something that will not succeed as attempted, except possibly with much force and effort.
    • 1873, Edward L. Bulwer, Lord Lytton, Kenelm Chillingly: his adventures and opinions : a novel, page 155:
      ... and insist upon forcing a square peg into a round hole, because in a round hole you, being a round peg, feel tight and comfortable.
    • 1985, United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure, Rulemaking Procedures Reform Act of 1985: hearing before the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure, page 77:
      ... you have guidelines for putting a square peg into a square hole, but we are trying to apply those same guidelines to put a square peg into a round hole.

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