General English

General Science

  • noun a three-dimensional geometric figure formed of six equal square plane faces, each set at right angles to the four sides adjacent to it
  • noun the product of three equal numbers or quantities multiplied together, usually written in mathematical notation as a raised 3, e.g. 43 means 4 × 4 × 4
  • verb to multiply a number or quantity by itself twice, e.g. 6 cubed is 6 x 6 x 6


  • verb to press animal feed into small square pellets


  • noun an extremely square person. A derogatory hipsters’ and beatnik term last heard in the early 1960s.

Origin & History of “cube”

Greek kúbos meant literally ‘six-sided solid figure’, a sense handed down to English via Latin cubus. apart from more obvious metaphorical applications, such as ‘dice’, the Greek word was used for the internal cavity of the pelvis, a semantic feature which links it with its possible relative, English hip. The fine-art term cubism was introduced to English in 1911 from French, where it seems to have been coined in 1908 by an anonymous member of the Hanging Committee of the Salon des Independents. The story goes that when a painting by Georges Braque was being shown to the committee, he exclaimed ‘Encore des Cubes! Assez de cubisme!’.