What does the idiom "fair and square" mean?

The phrase fair and square is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of fair and square.

Meaning of "fair and square"


The idiom "fair and square" is used to describe something that is not only done properly and according to the rules, but is also fair to all parties involved. It is used to describe when something is done, not only in a lawful manner, but also in an ethical manner. It is usually used to indicate that the situation has been handled appropriately and with honesty and integrity.


The idiom "fair and square" has its origins in the game of chess, which dates back to the 6th century in India. In chess, this phrase is used to indicate a particularly advantageous position on the board where a player's pieces are well-balanced and organized, allowing them to execute their strategy effectively.

Over time the phrase "fair and square" has evolved and come to be used figuratively to describe any situation in which all parties involved have been treated fairly and with integrity.


The idiom "fair and square" is typically used when discussing a particular situation that has been handled in a just and equitable manner. It is often used to indicate that all parties involved have been treated with respect and fairness, and that all expected standards or rules have been upheld.

The phrase is often used to draw attention to the fact that a situation has been handled in a particularly ethical manner, or that a particular individual or group has demonstrated a high level of integrity and propriety.

When used to describe an individual, it is often used to refer to someone who is honest and has a strong moral character. It can also be used to refer to an organization or company that is trustworthy and reliable.


  • "We handled the dispute fairly and square and both parties were satisfied with the outcome."
  • "We always try to do business fair and square, and make sure all parties are treated fairly and with respect."
  • "I've always known him to be a fair and square person who is trustworthy and reliable."
  • "This company is known for its fair and square business practices and dedication to ethical standards."

The meanings of the words in the "fair and square" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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