To square the circle

See under Square.
(Math.) to determine the exact contents of a circle in square measure. The solution of this famous problem is now generally admitted to be impossible.
- Sir W. Scott.

See also: Circle, Square

References in periodicals archive ?
He said: "I find it difficult to square the circle of having a customs partnership which is very like the union we have now but at the same time Britain engaging in trade deals with third parties.
The Swiss government is trying to square the circle of implementing a cut in EU immigration decided upon in a 2014 referendum without rendering an economically important set of treaties with the 28-country bloc void.
And when we hear the majority of hospitals are in deficit we realise that to square the circle in the NHS has gone from extremely difficult to almost mission impossible.
This realistic attitude will put Obama at odds with those who back his earlier tough position on Al Assad in both the US and abroad, but it follows on a recent statement by US Secretary John Kerry, in which he sought to square the circle by agreeing that Al Assad must go, but by being deliberately vague on when that would be required.
For two years the discretionary housing fund has been used to square the circle for the most vulnerable.
For two years, the discretionary housing fund has been used to square the circle for the most vulnerable.
And we also have to square the circle of making sure there are homes for people to live in while protecting our environment.
Unfortunately, we have never been able to square the circle with Mordsons and simply haven't been able to agree terms.
Hippocrates tries to square the circle, and succeeds in squaring the lune.
In Written Lives, however, Javier Marias--a brilliant novelist, with one foot in the Trollopian pre-modern and the other in perfect strangeness--has managed, simply and offhandedly, to square the circle of literary biography: noting the tendency of much modern fiction to edge towards the status of the essay (Guy Davenport, Alexander Kluge, Enrique Vila-Matas), he treats the twenty-six famous (and not-so-famous) writers in this collection as fictional characters ("which may well be how all writers .
There's some great old footage and interviews with people like Bob Geldoff and Chrissie Hynde, and the film was made by a Mormon so it covers that angle pretty heavily, which makes it somewhat bizarre (the notable absence of swearing throughout, for example, or the attempt to square the circle of a cross-dressing, drug-gobbling rock star with his new faith-filled white-bread persona), but a good flick nonetheless.