- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: pâr, IPA(key): /pɛə(ɹ)/
- (General American) enPR: pâr, IPA(key): /pɛɹ/
Audio (US) (file)
- (General Australian) IPA(key): /peː/
Audio (AU) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɛə(ɹ)
- Homophones: pare, pear
From Middle English paire, from Old French paire, from Latin paria (“equals”), neuter plural of par (“pair”). Related to pār (“equal”, adj). Compare Saterland Frisian Poor (“pair”), West Frisian pear (“pair”), Dutch paar (“pair”), German Paar (“pair”).
pair (plural pairs or (archaic or dialectal) pair)
- Two similar or identical things taken together; often followed by of.
- 1834 February, “Boz” [pseudonym; Charles Dickens], chapter II, in Sketches by “Boz,” Illustrative of Every-day Life, and Every-day People. […], volume II, London: John Macrone, […], published 1836, →OCLC, page 266:
- Ting, ting, ting! went the bell again. Every body sat down; the curtain shook, rose sufficiently high to display several pair of yellow boots paddling about, and there it remained.
- 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, […], →OCLC, part I, page 209:
- Day after day, with the stamp and shuffle of sixty pair of bare feet behind me, each pair under a 60-lb. load.
- 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, […], →OCLC, part I, page 210:
- So, one evening, I made a speech in English with gestures, not one of which was lost to the sixty pairs of eyes before me, and the next morning I started the hammock off in front all right.
- 2013 June 14, Jonathan Freedland, “Obama's once hip brand is now tainted”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 1, page 18:
- Where we once sent love letters in a sealed envelope, or stuck photographs of our children in a family album, now such private material is despatched to servers and clouds operated by people we don't know and will never meet. Perhaps we assume that our name, address and search preferences will be viewed by some unseen pair of corporate eyes, probably not human, and don't mind that much.
- I couldn't decide which of the pair of designer shirts I preferred, so I bought the pair.
- One of the constituent items that make up a pair.
- 1992, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Marking Time: Volume 2 of The Cazalet Chronicle, page 74:
- [S]he had finished the second sock, and pulled its pair out of the bag before handing them to her husband.
- 1996, Kathy Lette, Mad Cows, page 219:
- Must be good at athletics, home repairs, making mince interesting and finding the pair to the other glove.
- Two people in a relationship, partnership or friendship.
- Spouses should make a great pair.
- Used with binary nouns (often in the plural to indicate multiple instances, since such nouns are plural only, except in some technical contexts)
- a pair of scissors; two pairs of spectacles; several pairs of jeans
- A couple of working animals attached to work together, as by a yoke.
- A pair is harder to drive than two mounts with separate riders.
- (card games) A poker hand that contains two cards of identical rank, which cannot also count as a better hand.
- (cricket) A score of zero runs (a duck) in both innings of a two-innings match.
- (baseball, informal) A double play, two outs recorded in one play.
- They turned a pair to end the fifth.
- (baseball, informal) A doubleheader, two games played on the same day between the same teams
- The Pirates took a pair from the Phillies.
- (rowing) A boat for two sweep rowers.
- (slang) A pair of breasts
- She's got a gorgeous pair.
- (slang) A pair of testicles
- Grow a pair, mate.
- (Australia, politics) The exclusion of one member of a parliamentary party from a vote, if a member of the other party is absent for important personal reasons.
- Two members of opposite parties or opinion, as in a parliamentary body, who mutually agree not to vote on a given question, or on issues of a party nature during a specified time.
- There were two pairs on the final vote.
- (archaic) A number of things resembling one another, or belonging together; a set.
- c. 1622, John Fletcher, Philip Massinger, “The Sea-Voyage. A Comedy.”, in Fifty Comedies and Tragedies. […], [part 1], London: […] J[ohn] Macock [and H. Hills], for John Martyn, Henry Herringman, and Richard Marriot, published 1679, →OCLC, Act I, scene i, page 341:
- Thou lieſt; I ha’ nothing buy my ſkin, / And my cloaths; my ſword here, and my ſelf; / Two Crowns in my pocket; two pair of Cards; / And three falſe Dice: I can ſwim like a fiſh / Raſcal, nothing to hinder me.
- 1842 December – 1844 July, Charles Dickens, “Comprises, among Other Important Matters, Pecksniffian and Architectural, an Exact Relation of the Progress Made by Mr. Pinch in the Confidence and Friendship of the New Pupil”, in The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published 1844, →OCLC, page 74:
- It would never do, you know, for me to be plunging myself into poverty and shabbiness and love in one room up three pair of stairs, and all that sort of thing.
- (kinematics) In a mechanism, two elements, or bodies, which are so applied to each other as to mutually constrain relative motion; named in accordance with the motion it permits, as in turning pair, sliding pair, twisting pair.
The usual plural of pair is pairs. This is a recent innovation; the plural pair was formerly predominant and may be found in older texts like "A Key to Joyce's Arithmetic" (compare Middle English paire, plural paire). That is, a native English speaker, back in the early 19th century, would say 20 pair of shoes, as opposed to today's 20 pairs of shoes. In colloquial or dialectal speech, forms such as 20 pair may still be found; because of their relegation to informal speech, they are now sometimes proscribed.
- (two objects in a group): duo, dyad, couple, brace, twosome, duplet; see also Thesaurus:duo
- (pair of breasts): See also Thesaurus:breasts
- alpha pair
- another pair of shoes
- base pair
- base-pair breathing
- bottom pair
- carriage and pair
- conjugate acid-base pair
- conjugate redox pair
- Cooper pair
- coxless pair
- electron pair
- extra pair of hands
- fresh pair of eyes
- get a pair
- grow a pair
- have a pair
- homologous pair
- in pairs
- inversion pair
- kernel pair
- kilobase pair
- king pair
- Lax pair
- linear pair
- live pair
- lone pair
- middle pair
- minimal pair
- near-minimal pair
- on a pair
- one hair of a woman can draw more than a hundred pair of oxen
- one pair
- ordered pair
- pair and share
- pair bond
- pair bonding
- pair of binoculars
- pair of colors
- pair of colours
- pair of compasses
- pair of eyeglasses
- pair of forceps
- pair of glasses
- pair of goggles
- pair of ladders
- pair of nutcrackers
- pair of pants
- pair of pincers
- pair of pliers
- pair of scissors
- pair of secateurs
- pair of shades
- pair of shears
- pair of specs
- pair of stairs
- pair of stepladders
- pair of sunglasses
- pair of tongs
- pair of trousers
- pair of tweezers
- pair of underwear
- pair production
- pair programming
- pair royal
- pair skating
- pigeon pair
- pocket pair
- post and pair
- royal pair
- safe pair of hands
- shielded twisted pair
- show a clean pair of heels
- slot pair
- strap on a pair
- surrogate pair
- top pair
- twin prime pair
- twisted pair
- → Tokelauan: pea
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- (transitive) To group into one or more sets of two.
- The wedding guests were paired boy/girl and groom's party/bride's party.
- a. 1744, Alexander Pope, “Sappho to Phaon”, in John Wilson Croker, editor, The Works of Alexander Pope, new edition, volume I, J. Murray, published 1871, pages 94–95:
- Brown as I am, an Ethiopian dame / Inspired young Perseus with a gen’rous flame; / Turtles and doves of diff’ring hues unite, / And glossy jet is paired with shining white.
- (computing) to link two electronic devices wirelessly together, especially through a protocol such as Bluetooth
- It was not possible to pair my smartphone with an incompatible smartwatch.
- 2015, Microsoft, “How-to: Keyboards”, in http://www.microsoft.com, retrieved 2015-02-21:
- If your computer has a built-in, non-Microsoft transceiver, you can pair the device directly to the computer by using your computer’s Bluetooth software configuration program but without using the Microsoft Bluetooth transceiver.
- (transitive) To bring two (animals, notably dogs) together for mating.
- (intransitive) To come together for mating.
- 1883, Alexander Stewart, Nether Lochaber, page 112:
- The raven, in short, when he pairs, which he does at the earliest moment permitted by the laws of ravendom, pairs for life […]
- (politics, slang) To engage (oneself) with another of opposite opinions not to vote on a particular question or class of questions.
- (intransitive) To suit; to fit, as a counterpart.
- 1707, Nicholas Rowe, The Royal Convert, 2nd edition, Jacob Tonson, published 1714, page 46:
- My Heart was made to fit and pair with thine, / Simple and plain, and fraught with artleſs Tenderneſs; / Form’d to receive one Love, and only one, / But pleas’d and proud, and dearly fond of that, / It knows not what there can be in Variety, / And would not if it could.
|Poker hands in English · poker hands (layout · text)|
|high card||pair||two pair||three of a kind||straight|
|flush||full house||four of a kind||straight flush||royal flush|
- (obsolete, transitive) To impair, to make worse.
- a. 1376?, Sir Hugh Eglintoun (uncertain), transl., edited by George Panton, The “Gest Hystoriale” of the Destruction of Troy, N. Trübner & Co., translation of Historia destructionis Troiae by Guido delle Colonne (in Medieval Latin), published 1869, page 117:
- Why dreghis þou þis dole, & deris þi seluyn? / Lefe of þis Langore, as my lefe brother, / Þat puttes þe to payne and peires þi sight.
- Why endure this misery, and hurt yourself? / End this disease, my dear brother, / That pains you and impairs your sight.
- 1625, Francis [Bacon], “Of Innouations”, in The Essayes […], 3rd edition, London: […] Iohn Haviland for Hanna Barret, →OCLC, page 140:
- It were good therefore, that Men in their Innouations, would follow the Example of Time it ſelfe ; which indeed Innouateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees, ſcarce to be perceiued : For otherwiſe, whatſoeuer is New, is vnlooked for ; And euer it mends Some, and paires Other […]
- (obsolete, intransitive) To become worse, to deteriorate.
- (transitive, intransitive) to digest
- Synonym: digerir
- (figurative, transitive) to handle, to cope with
- de mal pair ― hard to take
- “pair” in Diccionari de la llengua catalana, segona edició, Institut d’Estudis Catalans.
- “pair”, in Gran Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana, Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2023
- “pair” in Diccionari normatiu valencià, Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua.
- “pair” in Diccionari català-valencià-balear, Antoni Maria Alcover and Francesc de Borja Moll, 1962.
pair m (plural pairs)
- a peer, high nobleman/vassal (as in peer of the realm)
- pari m
- “pair”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
- to be afraid
- Alcée Fortier, Louisiana Folktales
- Alternative form of
pair m (plural pairi)
- peer (noble)
pair m (plural pairs)
See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.|
- R. J. Thomas, G. A. Bevan, P. J. Donovan, A. Hawke et al., editors (1950–present), “pair”, in Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru Online (in Welsh), University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies