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[pair] /pɛər/
verb (used with object), pared, paring.
to cut off the outer coating, layer, or part of.
to remove (an outer coating, layer, or part) by cutting (often followed by off or away).
to reduce or remove by or as by cutting; diminish or decrease gradually (often followed by down):
to pare down one's expenses.
Origin of pare
1275-1325; Middle English paren < Middle French parer to make ready, trim < Latin parāre to prepare
Related forms
pareable, adjective
unpared, adjective
Can be confused
pair, pare, payer, pear.
1. See peel1 . 3. clip, shave, lessen.
3. increase. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pare away
Historical Examples
  • Take a chisel and pare away a small channel as at A, Fig. 315, to form a small shoulder to guide the saw.

    Woodwork Joints William Fairham
  • Next, take the chisel and pare away the back of the recess as at C.

    Woodwork Joints William Fairham
  • This will preserve it admirably and you have only to pare away the outside if too acid for your taste.

  • Burn acres of purple and pink heather, and pare away the young bracken that springs verdant from its ashes.

    Surrey A.R. Hope Moncrieff
  • When criticising Milton or Dante, he can hardly keep his hand off the finest passages in his desire to pare away superfluities.

    Hours in a Library Leslie Stephen
  • Care must be taken not to pare away too much, and especially not to weaken the mend at the edges of the sheet.

  • One seeks only to record him when he thus assails, and there is this result; that it is necessary to pare away so much.

    This Freedom A. S. M. Hutchinson
  • pare away all ragged portions of the foot and keep animal on clean floor until cured.

  • Detractors have done their best to pare away the merit of this act of self-renunciation by attributing it to despair.

  • It is much safer to enlarge such a wound, pare away the bruised edges, and disinfect the raw surfaces.

British Dictionary definitions for pare away


verb (transitive)
to peel or cut (the outer layer) from (something)
to cut the edges from (the nails); trim
to decrease bit by bit
Derived Forms
parer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French parer to adorn, from Latin parāre to make ready


/French pare/
Ambroise (ɑ̃brwaz). 1510–90, French surgeon. He reintroduced ligature of arteries following amputation instead of cauterization
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
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Word Origin and History for pare away



"to trim by cutting close," c.1300, from Old French parer "arrange, prepare; trim, adorn," and directly from Latin parare "make ready, furnish, provide, arrange, order," related to parere "produce, bring forth, give birth to," from PIE root *pere- "produce, procure, bring forward, bring forth," and derived words in diverse senses (cf. Lithuanian pariu "to brood," Greek poris "calf, bull," Old High German farro, German Farre "bullock," Old English fearr "bull," Sanskrit prthukah "child, calf, young of an animal," Czech spratek "brat, urchin, premature calf"). Generalized meaning "to reduce something little by little" is from 1520s. Related: Pared; paring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pare away in Medicine

Paré Pa·ré (pä-rā'), Ambroise. 1517?-1590.

French surgeon who made numerous improvements to operating methods, including the ligature of arteries rather than cauterization.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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