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Round Peg


Round peg in the square hole, and square peg in the round hole. The wrong man in the wrong place; especially applied to government officials. The expression was used in 1855, by Mr. Layard, speaking of the “Administration Reform Association.” The allusion is to such games as cribbage, German tactics, etc.

In 1804, Sydney Smith, in his Moral Philosophy, said: “You choose to represent the various parts in life by holes upon a table… . We shall generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular hole and the round person has squeezed himself into the square hole.”

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Rough Music
Rough and Ready
Rough and Ready
Roughs (The)
Round (To)
Round Dealing
Round Numbers (In)
Round Peg
Round Robin
Round Sum
Round Table
Round as a Ball;
Roundabout (A)
Rouse (A)