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Idiom

Fair and Square: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
In an honest and straightforward way, without any doubt.
Origin
Fair and squareThe meaning of ‘fair’ is acceptable or right. In this expression, ‘square’ means true and honest. People started using ‘square’ in this way in the 16th century. It originated from the idea that a square has perfect straight sides – the opposite of crooked.

The first time this expression was recorded was in 1604 in Francis Bacon’s essay Of Prophecies:
“Faire, and square. The gamester calls fooles holy-day.”
Examples
“They played well and won the match fair and square.”

“We decided to hire Joanne as she seems to handle her clients fair and square.”

John: “Were you happy with the election result?”
Mike: “Not really but the opposition won fair and square.”