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square one's shoulders

Prepare to face adversity, as in She knew it wouldn't be easy but she squared her shoulders and faced the hostile audience. This expression transfers standing erect with the shoulders pulled back, forming an angle much like a square's right angle, to the situations calling for this stance. It was first recorded in 1819.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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