Introduction ::Cameroon


French Cameroon became independent in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. The following year the southern portion of neighboring British Cameroon voted to merge with the new country to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. In 1972, a new constitution replaced the federation with a unitary state, the United Republic of Cameroon. The country has generally enjoyed stability, which has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.

Geography ::Cameroon


Central Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria

Geographic coordinates:

6 00 N, 12 00 E


total: 475,440 sq km

country comparison to the world: 54

land: 472,710 sq km

water: 2,730 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than California

Land boundaries:

total: 4,591 km

border countries: Central African Republic 797 km, Chad 1,094 km, Republic of the Congo 523 km, Equatorial Guinea 189 km, Gabon 298 km, Nigeria 1,690 km


402 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm


varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north


diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Fako 4,095 m (on Mt. Cameroon)

Natural resources:

petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 13.04%

permanent crops: 2.94%

other: 84.01% (2011)

Irrigated land:

256.5 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

285.5 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.97 cu km/yr (23%/10%/68%)

per capita: 58.9 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards:

volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes

volcanism: Mt. Cameroon (elev. 4,095 m), which last erupted in 2000, is the most frequently active volcano in West Africa; lakes in Oku volcanic field have released fatal levels of gas on occasion, killing some 1,700 people in 1986

Environment - current issues:

waterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa; throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano

People and Society ::Cameroon


noun: Cameroonian(s)

adjective: Cameroonian

Ethnic groups:

Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%


24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)


indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%


20,549,221 (July 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 58

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age structure:

0-14 years: 40% (male 4,151,140/female 4,076,797)

15-24 years: 20.3% (male 2,107,067/female 2,066,718)

25-54 years: 31.9% (male 3,317,740/female 3,240,609)

55-64 years: 4.3% (male 419,751/female 468,077)

65 years and over: 3.4% (male 319,597/female 381,725) (2013 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 85.8 %

youth dependency ratio: 79.8 %

elderly dependency ratio: 6 %

potential support ratio: 16.7 (2013)

Median age:

total: 19.7 years

male: 19.6 years

female: 19.8 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.04% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 50

Birth rate:

31.93 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

Death rate:

11.51 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82


urban population: 52.1% of total population (2011)

rate of urbanization: 3.23% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

YAOUNDE (capital) 2.432 million; Douala 2.053 million (2011)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

19.4 (2004 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

690 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

country comparison to the world: 10

Infant mortality rate:

total: 58.51 deaths/1,000 live births

country comparison to the world: 28

male: 62.92 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 53.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 55.02 years

country comparison to the world: 202

male: 54.1 years

female: 55.95 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4 children born/woman (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

23.4% (2011)

Health expenditures:

5.1% of GDP (2010)

country comparison to the world: 140

Physicians density:

0.19 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital bed density:

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:


urban: 95% of population

rural: 52% of population

total: 77% of population


urban: 5% of population

rural: 48% of population

total: 23% of population (2010 est.)

Sanitation facility access:


urban: 58% of population

rural: 36% of population

total: 49% of population


urban: 42% of population

rural: 64% of population

total: 51% of population (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

5.3% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

610,000 (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

37,000 (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever

water contact disease: schistosomiasis

respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis

animal contact disease: rabies (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

10.3% (2008)

country comparison to the world: 130

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

16.6% (2006)

country comparison to the world: 45

Education expenditures:

3.2% of GDP (2011)

country comparison to the world: 137


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 71.3%

male: 78.3%

female: 64.8% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 12 years

male: 12 years

female: 11 years (2011)

Child labor - children ages 5-14:

total number: 1,396,281

percentage: 31 % (2006 est.)

Government ::Cameroon

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Cameroon

conventional short form: Cameroon

local long form: Republique du Cameroun/Republic of Cameroon

local short form: Cameroun/Cameroon

former: French Cameroon, British Cameroon, Federal Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Cameroon

Government type:

republic; multiparty presidential regime


name: Yaounde

geographic coordinates: 3 52 N, 11 31 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

10 regions (regions, singular - region); Adamaoua, Centre, East (Est), Far North (Extreme-Nord), Littoral, North (Nord), North-West (Nord-Ouest), West (Ouest), South (Sud), South-West (Sud-Ouest)


1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

Republic Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)


approved by referendum 20 May 1972; adopted 2 June 1972; revised January 1996; amended April 2008

Legal system:

mixed legal system of English common law, French civil law, and customary law

International law organization participation:

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt


20 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Paul BIYA (since 6 November 1982)

head of government: Prime Minister Philemon YANG (since 30 June 2009)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from proposals submitted by the prime minister

(For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (with no term limits per 2008 constitutional amendment); election last held on 9 October 2011 (next to be held in October 2018); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: President Paul BIYA reelected; percent of vote - Paul BIYA 78.0%, John FRU NDI 10.7%, Garga Haman ADJI 3.2%, Adamou Ndam NJOYA 1.7%, Paul Abine AYAH 1.3%, other 5.1%

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (180 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - the president can either lengthen or shorten the term of the legislature

elections: last held on 22 July 2007 (next to be held on 30 September 2013)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 140, SDF 14, UDC 4, UNDP 4, MP 1, vacant 17

note: the constitution calls for an upper chamber for the legislature, to be called a Senate, but it has yet to be established

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cameroon (consists of 9 titular and 6 surrogate judges and organized into judicial, administrative, and audit chambers); Constitutional Council (consists of 11 members)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the advice of the Higher Judicial Council of Cameroon (a body chaired by the president and includes the minister of justice, selected magistrates, and representatives of the National Assembly); judge term NA; Constitutional Council members appointed by the president for single 9-year terms

subordinate courts: Parliamentary Court of Justice (jurisdiction limited to cases involving the president and prime minister); appellate and first instance courts; circuit and magistrate's courts

Political parties and leaders:

Cameroon People's Democratic Movement or CPDM [Paul BIYA]

Cameroon People's Party [Edith Kah WALLA]

Cameroonian Democratic Union or UDC [Adamou Ndam NJOYA]

Movement for the Defense of the Republic or MDR [Dakole DAISSALA]

Movement for the Liberation and Development of Cameroon or MLDC [Marcel YONDO]

National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP [Maigari BELLO BOUBA]

Progressive Movement or MP

Social Democratic Front or SDF [John FRU NDI]

Union of Peoples of Cameroon or UPC [Augustin Frederic KODOCK]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG, president]

Southern Cameroon National Council [Ayamba Ette OTUN]

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph FOE-ATANGANA

chancery: 2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; current temporary address - 3400 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 265-8790

FAX: [1] (202) 387-3826

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Robert P. JACKSON

embassy: Avenue Rosa Parks, Yaounde

mailing address: P. O. Box 817, Yaounde; pouch: American Embassy, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2520

telephone: [237] 2220 15 00; Consular: [237] 2220 16 03

FAX: [237] 2220 15 00 Ext. 4531; Consular FAX: [237] 2220 17 52

branch office(s): Douala

Flag description:

three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), red, and yellow, with a yellow five-pointed star centered in the red band; the vertical tricolor recalls the flag of France; red symbolizes unity, yellow the sun, happiness, and the savannahs in the north, and green hope and the forests in the south; the star is referred to as the ""star of unity""

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National symbol(s):


National anthem:

name: ""O Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancetres"" (O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers)

lyrics/music: Rene Djam AFAME, Samuel Minkio BAMBA, Moise Nyatte NKO'O [French], Benard Nsokika FONLON [English]/Rene Djam AFAME

note: adopted 1957; Cameroon's anthem, also known as ""Chant de Ralliement"" (The Rallying Song), has been used unofficially since 1948 and officially adopted in 1957; the anthem has French and English versions whose lyrics differ

Economy ::Cameroon

Economy - overview:

Because of its modest oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious problems confronting other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise. Since 1990, the government has embarked on various IMF and World Bank programs designed to spur business investment, increase efficiency in agriculture, improve trade, and recapitalize the nation's banks. The IMF is pressing for more reforms, including increased budget transparency, privatization, and poverty reduction programs. Subsidies for electricity, food, and fuel have strained the budget. Cameroon recently began several large infrastructure projects, including a deep sea port in Kribi, a natural gas powered electricity generating plant, and several hydroelectric dams. Cameroon must attract more investment to improve its inadequate infrastructure, but its business environment is a deterrent to foreign investment.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$51.61 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 95

$49.27 billion (2011 est.)

$47.33 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$25.01 billion (2012 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.7% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

4.1% (2011 est.)

3.3% (2010 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,400 (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

$2,400 (2011 est.)

$2,300 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

Gross national saving:

20.8% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

19.8% of GDP (2011 est.)

16.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 67.1%

government consumption: 16.2%

investment in fixed capital: 20.9%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 30.5%

imports of goods and services: -34.6%

(2012 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 20.7%

industry: 27.7%

services: 51.5% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products:

coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, cassava (manioc); livestock; timber


petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair

Industrial production growth rate:

5.4% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 50

Labor force:

8.246 million (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 70%

industry: 13%

services: 17% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:

30% (2001 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179

Population below poverty line:

48% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 35.4% (2001)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

44.6 (2001)

country comparison to the world: 43

47.7 (1996)


revenues: $4.741 billion

expenditures: $5.73 billion (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

19% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 172

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-4% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 145

Public debt:

16% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 136

14.6% of GDP (2011 est.)

Fiscal year:

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.9% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

2.9% (2011 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

4.25% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

14% (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57

14% (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$3.484 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

$3.514 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of broad money:

$6.279 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 121

$5.66 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$2.758 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 132

$2.523 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$230 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Current account balance:

-$946.4 million (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 110

-$1.365 billion (2011 est.)


$6.025 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

$5.488 billion (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities:

crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton

Exports - partners:

China 14.8%, Netherlands 9.5%, Spain 8.8%, India 8.4%, Portugal 7.9%, Italy 5.9%, US 5.3% (2012)


$6.559 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

$6.06 billion (2011 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food

Imports - partners:

China 18.9%, France 15%, Nigeria 12.1%, Belgium 5.2%, US 4.4%, India 4.2% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$3.431 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

$3.245 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt - external:

$3.208 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 134

$3.074 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Exchange rates:

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per dollar -

510.53 (2012 est.)

471.87 (2011 est.)

495.28 (2010 est.)

472.19 (2009)

447.81 (2008)

Energy ::Cameroon

Electricity - production:

5.589 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

Electricity - consumption:

5.049 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

1.115 million kW (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 121

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

27.8% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

72.2% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 121

Crude oil - production:

61,580 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Crude oil - exports:

64,740 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Crude oil - imports:

32,490 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 63

Crude oil - proved reserves:

200 million bbl (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

Refined petroleum products - production:

42,520 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

29,410 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Refined petroleum products - exports:

17,470 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

Refined petroleum products - imports:

5,715 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

Natural gas - production:

20 million cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Natural gas - consumption:

20 million cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 79

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 176

Natural gas - proved reserves:

135.1 billion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

7.361 million Mt (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 110

Communications ::Cameroon

Telephones - main lines in use:

669,000 (2011)

country comparison to the world: 90

Telephones - mobile cellular:

10.486 million (2011)

country comparison to the world: 72

Telephone system:

general assessment: system includes cable, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter; Camtel, the monopoly provider of fixed-line service, provides connections for only about 3 per 100 persons; equipment is old and outdated, and connections with many parts of the country are unreliable

domestic: mobile-cellular usage, in part a reflection of the poor condition and general inadequacy of the fixed-line network, has increased sharply, reaching a subscribership base of 50 per 100 persons

international: country code - 237; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media:

government maintains tight control over broadcast media; state-owned Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), broadcasting on both a TV and radio network, was the only officially recognized and fully licensed broadcaster until August 2007 when the government finally issued licenses to 2 private TV broadcasters and 1 private radio broadcaster; about 70 privately owned, unlicensed radio stations operating but are subject to closure at any time; foreign news services required to partner with state-owned national station (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

10,207 (2012)

country comparison to the world: 134

Internet users:

749,600 (2009)

country comparison to the world: 106

Transportation ::Cameroon


33 (2013)

country comparison to the world: 112

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 11

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 22

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m:

8 (2013)


gas 53 km; liquid petroleum gas 5 km; oil 1,107 km; water 35 km (2013)


total: 1,245 km

country comparison to the world: 82

narrow gauge: 1,245 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)


total: 50,000 km

country comparison to the world: 79

paved: 5,000 km

unpaved: 45,000 km

note: there are 28,857 km of national roads (2008)


(major rivers in the south, such as the Wouri and the Sanaga, are largely non-navigable; in the north, the Benue, which connects through Nigeria to the Niger River, is navigable in the rainy season only to the port of Garoua) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

river port(s): Douala (Wouri); Garoua (Benoue)

oil/gas terminal(s): Limboh Terminal

Military ::Cameroon

Military branches:

Cameroon Armed Forces (Forces Armees Camerounaises, FAC), Army (L'Armee de Terre), Navy (Marine Nationale Republique (MNR), includes naval infantry), Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC), Fire Fighter Corps, Gendarmerie (2013)

Military service age and obligation:

18-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years; the government makes periodic calls for volunteers (2012)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 4,667,251

females age 16-49: 4,548,909 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,794,998

females age 16-49: 2,718,110 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 215,248

female: 211,636 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1.3% of GDP (2009)

country comparison to the world: 114

Transnational Issues ::Cameroon

Disputes - international:

Joint Border Commission with Nigeria reviewed 2002 ICJ ruling on the entire boundary and bilaterally resolved differences, including June 2006 Greentree Agreement that immediately ceded sovereignty of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon with a full phase-out of Nigerian control and patriation of residents in 2008; Cameroon and Nigeria agreed on maritime delimitation in March 2008; sovereignty dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon over an island at the mouth of the Ntem River; only Nigeria and Cameroon have heeded the Lake Chad Commission's admonition to ratify the delimitation treaty, which also includes the Chad-Niger and Niger-Nigeria boundaries

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 91,378 (Central African Republic) (2013)"

The World Factbook. 2014.

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  • Cameroon — geographical name 1. massif about 13,350 feet (4069 meters) W Cameroon (republic) 2. (or Cameroun) country W equatorial Africa in Cameroons region; a republic, formerly a trust territory under France capital Yaoundé area about 183,590 square… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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