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Describing a hopeless, meaningless, or vain undertaking.

Squaring the circle is a problem proposed by ancient geometers. It is the challenge of constructing a square with the same area as a given circle by using only a finite number of steps with compass and straightedge. More abstractly and more precisely, it may be taken to ask whether specified axioms of Euclidean geometry concerning the existence of lines and circles entail the existence of such a square.

In 1882, the task was proven to be impossible.
In Spanish, the expression "descubriste la cuadratura del círculo" or square the circle is a problem proposed by ancient geometers. It is the challenge of constructing a square with the same area as a given circle by using only a finite number of steps with compass and straightedge. More abstractly and more precisely, it may be taken to ask whether specified axioms of Euclidean geometry concerning the existence of lines and circles entail the existence of such a square.

In 1882, the task was proven to be impossible," ("you discovered the quadrature of the circle") is often used derisively to dismiss claims that someone has found a simple solution to a particularly hard or intractable problem.
by bbennet111 August 15, 2010
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