fair and square

fair and square

Meaning | Synonyms

  • done according to the rules
  • as it should be
  • honestly and legitimately
  • with perfect accuracy
  • no cheating or lying involved

Example Sentences

  1. The supporters for the other team were angry but we won the game fair and square.
  2. We picked the lottery numbers at random and won fairly and squarely.
  3. Steve hit the pheasant fair and square. Smack in the middle of the windscreen.
  4. The opponent punched him fair and square in the chest.
  5. The politicians voted the bill through fairly and squarely last night.


The rhyming phrase fair and square dates back to the 1600s. It is usually used in the context of sporting competitions, races or, some any kind of contest. It would be used specially to combat claims of cheating or dispute. It suggests that the proceedings were honest and all rules were adhered to. She won the race fair and square despite all the setbacks.

Although it is grammatically incorrect in this form, it can be used in business circles to add emphasis that everything is legal, legitimate, and above board. Often it will be used correctly as in the examples above (fairly and squarely) in a more formal setting.

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Idiom of the Day

axe to grind

Meaning: have a private or selfish reason for doing something

Example: He should not become the chairman of the committee as he has too many axes of his own to grind. Read on


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