follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

pair

[pair] /pɛər/
noun, plural pairs, pair.
1.
two identical, similar, or corresponding things that are matched for use together:
a pair of gloves; a pair of earrings.
2.
something consisting of or regarded as having two parts or pieces joined together:
a pair of scissors; a pair of slacks.
3.
two individuals who are similar or in some way associated:
a pair of liars; a pair of seal pups.
4.
a married, engaged, or dating couple.
5.
two mated animals.
6.
a span or team:
a pair of horses.
7.
Government.
  1. two members on opposite sides in a deliberative body who for convenience, as to permit absence, arrange together to forgo voting on a given occasion.
  2. the arrangement thus made.
8.
Cards.
  1. two playing cards of the same denomination without regard to suit or color.
  2. pairs, two card players who are matched together against different contestants.
9.
pairs, pair skating.
10.
Also called kinematic pair. Mechanics. two parts or pieces so connected that they mutually constrain relative motion.
11.
Philately. two postage stamps joined together either vertically or horizontally.
12.
a set or combination of more than two objects forming a collective whole:
a pair of beads.
verb (used with object)
13.
to arrange or designate in pairs or groups of two:
She paired dancers for the waltz contest.
14.
to form into a pair, as by matching, joining, etc.; match; couple:
to pair freshly washed socks.
15.
(of animals) to cause to mate.
verb (used without object)
16.
to separate into pairs or groups of two (usually followed by off ):
to pair off for a procession.
17.
to form a pair or pairs.
18.
to be a member of a pair.
19.
to match with or resemble another.
20.
to unite in close association with another, as in a business partnership, friendship, marriage, etc.
21.
(of animals) to mate.
22.
Government. (in a deliberative body) to form or arrange a pair.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English paire < Old French < Latin pāria, plural (taken as feminine singular) of pār a pair. See par1
Related forms
pairwise, adverb
unpaired, adjective
well-paired, adjective
Can be confused
couple, pair, several (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonym Study
1. Pair, brace, couple, span, yoke are terms for groups of two. Pair is used of two things naturally or habitually associated in use, or necessary to each other to make a complete set: a pair of dice. It is used also of one thing composed of two similar and complementary parts: a pair of trousers. Brace is a hunter's term, used of a pair of dogs, ducks, etc., or a pair of pistols or slugs: a brace of partridges. In couple the idea of combination or interdependence has become greatly weakened; it may be used loosely for two of anything (a couple of apples), and even for more than two: I have to see a couple of people. Span is used of a matched pair of horses harnessed together side by side. Yoke applies to the two animals hitched together under a yoke for drawing and pulling: a yoke of oxen.
Usage note
When used without a modifier, pairs is the only possible plural: Pairs of skaters glided over the ice. When modified by a number, pairs is the more common form, especially referring to persons: Six pairs of masked dancers led the procession. The unmarked plural pair is used mainly in reference to inanimate objects or nonhumans: He has three pair (or pairs) of loafers. Two pair (or pairs) of barn owls have nested on our property.
Pair signifying two individuals can take either a singular or plural verb, but it is usually followed by a plural verb and referred to by a plural pronoun: The guilty pair have not been seen since their escape.
In the sense “a set or combination of more than two objects forming a collective whole,” pair occurs chiefly in fixed phrases: a pair of beads; a pair of stairs. This use is now somewhat old-fashioned. See also collective noun, couple.

pair

[per] /pɛr/
adjective
1.
French. noting any even number, especially in roulette.
Compare impair.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for pair
  • Having put the pair under house arrest, the authorities were apparently caught out.
  • Now, a pair of biomechanics researchers has offered a scientific explanation of how this counterintuitive tactic worked.
  • He straps on a pair of steel spurs and hefts a coil of thick rope.
  • No other pair of countries invite such frequent comparison yet share so little in common.
  • Clean a pair of old tennis shoes or outgrown oxfords.
  • Elephants quickly learned to cooperate as a pair on a task that brought them a food reward.
  • We watch for the pair of bald eagles that have lately come to nest in a tall dead oak.
  • The inventor of the windup radio is field testing a pair of boots that charge a cellphone from the energy generated by walking.
  • It was used, in one example, to disparage a particularly squeaky pair of shoes that the main character had been wearing.
  • The pair hugged, snapped some evidentiary photographs and buried offerings in the snow.
British Dictionary definitions for pair

pair1

/pɛə/
noun (pl) pairs, (functioning as singular or plural) pair
1.
two identical or similar things matched for use together: a pair of socks
2.
two persons, animals, things, etc, used or grouped together: a pair of horses, a pair of scoundrels
3.
an object considered to be two identical or similar things joined together: a pair of trousers
4.
two people joined in love or marriage
5.
a male and a female animal of the same species, esp such animals kept for breeding purposes
6.
(parliamentary procedure)
  1. two opposed members who both agree not to vote on a specified motion or for a specific period of time
  2. the agreement so made
7.
two playing cards of the same rank or denomination: a pair of threes
8.
one member of a matching pair: I can't find the pair to this glove
9.
(cricket) a pair of spectacles (the cricketing term) See spectacles (sense 2)
10.
(rowing) See pair-oar
11.
(Brit & US, dialect) a group or set of more than two
12.
(logic, maths)
  1. a set with two members
  2. an ordered set with two members
verb
13.
(often foll by off) to arrange or fall into groups of twos
14.
to group or be grouped in matching pairs: to pair socks
15.
to join or be joined in marriage; mate or couple
16.
(when transitive, usually passive) (parliamentary procedure) to form or cause to form a pair: 18 members were paired for the last vote
See also pairs
Usage note
Like other collective nouns, pair takes a singular or a plural verb according to whether it is seen as a unit or as a collection of two things: the pair are said to dislike each other; a pair of good shoes is essential
Word Origin
C13: from Old French paire, from Latin paria equal (things), from pār equal

pair2

/per/
adjective
1.
a Scot word for poor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pair
n.

mid-13c., "two of a kind coupled in use," from Old French paire "pair, couple," and directly from Medieval Latin paria "equals," neuter plural of Latin par (genitive paris) "a pair, counterpart, equal," noun use of par (adj.) "equal, equal-sized, well-matched" (see par (n.)). Originally of things. Of persons from late 14c. Meaning "a woman's breasts" is attested from 1922. Pair bond (v.) is first attested 1940, in reference to birds mating.

v.

"to come together with another; be mated or married" (intransitive), also "to make a pair by matching" (transitive), c.1600, from pair (n.). These senses now often are distinguished by pair off (c.1803) for the former and pair up (1908) for the latter. Related: Paired; pairing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for pair

pair

noun

A woman's breasts •Regarded as offensive by many women (1922+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with pair

pair

In addition to the idiom beginning with pair also see: show one's (a clean pair of) heels
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Slide the arrow to see easier and harder words for pair
Easy Moderate Difficult

Word Value for pair

6
7
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with pair

Nearby words for pair