I wonder what this means: square her bites

Unlike many at the academy, she was not particularly athletic. But she had earned a black belt in taekwondo, passed all the required endurance tests and flourished in the classroom. She also mastered the required manner of eating for plebes, squaring her bites and taking no more than three chews before swallowing.

1 Answer 1


Formal posture during mealtimes in the US military involved sitting upright and holding the bent arm in a way that it formed a right angle at the elbow. The body-arm positions formed a 3-sided square-like shape, and the eating utensil pointing towards your mouth forming the 4th side of the square. Hence a US military meal would be a squarely eaten meal.

and more: http://www.saywhydoi.com/square-meal-origin-and-meaning-why-do-we-say-square-meal/

  • 1
    What you have quoted here is listed in the link as an "entertaining (yet untrue) theor[y] for the origin of “square meal”. It says: "This theory, entertaining as it is to act out, has not been backed up by evidence."
    – Laurel
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 1:47
  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question.
    – AndyT
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 10:14

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