The idiom “fair and square” has its origins in the rule of law. Prior to the invention of modern philosophy, the people would take justice into their own hands. This led to many injustices which were resolved through self-defense. Fairness was key in the sense that if someone was killed over something they did not do, it would be seen as unjust because they didn’t get a chance to defend themselves.

The idiom “fair and square” is used to describe an action that is done without any ulterior motives.

The idiom “fair and square” is a common phrase in American English, but has a less clear meaning in another language. The phrase can be interpreted to mean that there will be no cheating or unfair advantage in a particular situation. It could also mean that the competition will be an equal one with both competitors having an equal chance of winning. In addition, it could refer to the results being fair and accurate, with no error on the part of the judges or advisors.

In the vernacular, fair and square is a colloquialism for being honest and transparent in business dealings.


Getting a fair shake is to be given an opportunity to display your skills and talents and be judged accordingly.

To get a fair shake means to have the same opportunity as everyone else. This is different for everyone but it can be interpreted that they are being treated fairly or being given opportunities to succeed.

In the academic world, a person gets a “fair shake” if they had equal academic opportunities and attention in class. A student will not get a “fair shake” if they were only called on once while some other students never had their hand raised.

A person is getting a fair shake when they are being treated fairly, not being taken advantage of or deceived.

In the context of fair and equitable treatment, the idiom “getting a fair shake” means to be granted a fair and equal representation of one’s interests. Without access to legal counsel or any other means of protection, many people in disadvantaged communities feel that they are not given a “fair shake.” For example, people who live in impoverished communities may feel particularly vulnerable to predatory lending practices, such as home mortgages with adjustable interest rates.


Fair to middling is an idiom that means that something is neither bad nor good, it’s just average or mediocre. This usage of the phrase originated around the late 1800s in England, where it meant “fair” but not “excellent.” Over time it came to be used in the United States as well.

Fair to middling is an idiom from the North American English language, which means it is hard to describe or rate something as being great or terrible without sounding too subjective. The phrase is often used in a sentence where a person is just going with the flow, not really feeling either extreme. For example, “I’m bored and I have no plans tonight so I guess I’ll just go out.

The idiom fair to middling can be used as a description for someone who is average, mediocre or unremarkable. Its meaning seems to stem from the idea that such people are neither excellent nor terribly bad.

Fair to middling is often used as an idiom meaning mediocre or average. It is not a standard term in academia, but has found usage among some people.

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