Green’s Dictionary of Slang

square v.

[square adj.]

1. [early 19C+] (also square up) to settle, to put right, spec. to deal with problems, often by using influence, bribes, threats etc.; thus n. square, any form of corruption (see cite 1897).

2. to pay off or bribe a policeman; thus square his nibs v., to pay off a policeman; squared adj.

3. [mid-19C–1940s] to pay one’s debts; to pay a bill.

4. [mid-19C+] (UK Und.) to sort things out with another person.

5. [late 19C–1920s] to give or lend money.

6. [late 19C+] (also square off, square up) to make things equal.

7. [1920s] (US Und.) to gain a pardon.

8. [1920s–40s] (also square oneself) to take up a respectable, honest life.

9. [1970s+] (US gay) to have heterosexual intercourse with.

10. see square up v.1

In compounds

square-off (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

square away (v.) [milit. jargon square away, to put in proper order]

1. [20C+] to deal with, to settle; thus squared away adj.

2. [20C+] to sort out, to put away, to put in order, whether emotionally or physically; thus squared away adj.

3. [1920s] to explain, to put in the picture.

4. [1980s] (Aus.) to bribe.

square it (v.)

1. [mid-19C+] to live or act honestly.

2. [mid-19C+] to explain, to make excuses.

3. [late 19C] to render acceptable, appealing; to make things right.

square off (v.)

1. see sense 6 above.

2. see separate entries.

square someone’s circle (v.)

[1980s+] (US campus) to have sexual intercourse with someone.

square up (v.)

1. see sense 1 above.

2. see sense 6 above.

3. see separate entries.