Squared Away

In any case, the phrase “square away,” meaning “to put in proper order, to tidy up,” first appeared in print in 1909, in a notably non-nautical context (“She had a head on her, Barbie had, an’ when she got squared away, she made ‘em all get down an’ scratch”), and has been in wide use ever since. My sense is that while some people may think of sailing ships when they hear it, the phrase itself is more tied to the accounting use of “square” to mean “in proper order.”

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1 comment on this post.
  1. Lance Wittlif:

    In the old “brown shoe” army, the blankets on the bunks were required to be taut, and folded at the corners in such a way as to present a sharp 90 degree edge. A properly made bunk, ready for inspection, was “squared away.” Actually, it was more rectangular, but the mathematicians were all in the engineers.

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