The term “square” comes from the Old French word “esquarre,” which means “a square” or “a square-shaped tool.” This is derived from the Latin word “exquadra,” which is derived from “quadrare,” meaning “to make square.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*kʷetwóres” means “four.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “quadrare” developed, meaning “to make square” or “to make fit.” The noun “exquadra” referred to a square or something squared.

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Latin term “exquadra” evolved into Old French “esquarre,” meaning “a square” or “a tool used to measure right angles.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old French “esquarre” was adopted into Middle English as “square,” meaning “a figure with four equal sides and four right angles” and “a tool used for measuring right angles.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “square” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meanings of “a four-sided figure with equal sides and right angles,” “a tool for measuring right angles,” and “a public open area in a town or city.”

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “square” has remained relatively stable from Old French to Modern English.

Usage Examples

  • “Square is often used to describe a four-sided figure with equal sides and right angles.”
  • “Another example of ‘square’ in a sentence is ‘The carpenter used a square to ensure the angles were correct.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “square” was significantly influenced by its use in geometry, carpentry, and urban design. Squares are fundamental shapes in geometry and essential tools in construction and woodworking. Additionally, town squares have been central public spaces in many cultures.

The word “square” reflects the concept of four equal sides and right angles, emphasizing the importance of symmetry, balance, and precision in various fields, including mathematics, architecture, and urban planning.