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Re: A square meal

Posted by ESC on May 14, 2003

In Reply to: A square meal posted by toastie on May 14, 2003

: this term I belive actually comes from medevil castles, where meals were served on square bits of bread, thus letting the gravey and the sorts soak in, and if the person eating the meal felt generous he/she would through the bread out of the window to the peasants below, who would then eat the bread as there "square meal"

You could be right. Here's what I've found:

SQUARE - "Colonists were calling city blocks laid out on the grid plan 'squares' by the 1790s ( the term is often associated with Philadelphia but did not originate there). By 1832 men used 'square' approvingly to refer to the natural, even gait of a good horse in such expressions as a 'square-gaited' horse or a 'square trotter.' Bu 1836 'square' meant full or complete, as a 'square meal,' though people didn't talk about 'three squares a day' until 1882. By the 1850s 'to square' meant to put a matter straight and later to pay a debt.

As early as 1804, however, square had come to mean fair, honest, as in 'square fight,' with 'square talk' coming in 1860, 'square deal' appearing as a card player's term in the 1880s, and square shooter in 1920. However, it was Theodore Roosevelt who popularized the term 'square deal' in its generally sense.The term (square) was spread by bop and cool musicians in the late 1940s and early 50s, and then by beatniks and hippies, who used it pejoratively to refer to old-fashioned people and conformists." From "Listening to America" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).