Is there a verb that means the act of forcing a square peg into a round hole, so to speak? More specifically, in my case I'm facetiously suggesting that we take an absurd notion and try to fit the facts to the assertion.

What's a teensy bit harder to ____ [about/to/for] this assertion is [contradictory evidence].

The best I've come up with are reconcile and rectify, but those have more to do with our response to these facts than the act of mashing them into a space in which they cannot fit in the first place.

Explain away works, but I'd rather have a single word, if possible.

Conform is probably the most exact word I've found for what I mean, but doesn't fit into my sentence structure, and it's not particularly playful.

If I cant find a single word, I'll probably just use...

What's a teensy bit harder to square-peg into this round-hole assertion is [contradictory evidence].

...as it fits the playful, sarcastic tone, but again, I'd rather have a single word if possible.

  • Is it folly? That works with the last sentence, but your use case isn't consistent. – Weather Vane Apr 18 '20 at 21:27
  • Folly isn't a verb though... – dx_over_dt Apr 18 '20 at 21:30
  • To contrive? – Weather Vane Apr 18 '20 at 21:32
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    We twist the facts, or we contort them, or we massage them. If that doesn't work, we torture them. massage the facts – Phil Sweet Apr 19 '20 at 3:13
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    @KannE How many times have I told you not to force things? Just get a bigger hammer... – Conrado Apr 22 '20 at 3:18

You jam a square peg into a round hole. Oxford:

Push (something) roughly and forcibly into position or a space.

  • "What's a teensy bit harder to jam into this assertion is ..."? I suppose that could work. – dx_over_dt Apr 18 '20 at 22:05

How about square (M-W): to set right : bring into agreement

Your example sentence:

What's a teensy bit harder to square with this assertion is [contradictory evidence].

In addition to being a single word that captures the sense I believe you're seeking, square picks up the square in your analogy of the [contradictory evidence] to a square peg.


I think I found my word: reckon.

If someone has a better answer, though, I'm still interested.


A friend of mine suggested shoehorn. That's a great word.

  • What's the complete sentence with "reckon" in it? – Tanner Swett Apr 18 '20 at 22:11
  • With regards to Steven Mnuchin's assertion that $1200 is enough to hold Americans over for 10 weeks... "What's a teensy bit harder to reckon into this ten-weeks assertion is that paper checks haven't begun to be sent out yet, and given the overhead involved, some people won't receive this ten weeks of life-sustaining relief for another five months." Full post here. – dx_over_dt Apr 18 '20 at 22:14
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    You may be force-fitting reckon into this sentence. It seems to me to be a square peg. – Richard Kayser Apr 22 '20 at 1:58

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