Meaning of FAIR in English


I. fair 1 S1 W2 /feə $ fer/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: adverb : ↑ fairly ≠ ↑ unfairly , ↑ fair ; noun : ↑ fairness ≠ ↑ unfairness ; adjective : ↑ fair ≠ ↑ unfair ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: fæger 'beautiful' ]

1 . REASONABLE AND ACCEPTABLE a fair situation, system, way of treating people, or judgment seems reasonable, acceptable, and right OPP unfair :

All we are asking for is a fair wage.

£150 is a fair price.

fair trial/hearing

the right to a fair trial

What do you think is the fairest solution?

The report is a fair summary of the issues facing us.

it is fair to do something

It seems fair to give them a second chance.

it’s only fair (that) (=used to say that it is right to do something)

It’s only fair that we tell him what’s happening.

it’s fair to say (that) (=used when you think what you are saying is correct or reasonable)

It’s fair to say that by then he had lost the support of his staff.

it’s not fair on somebody

I can’t carry on working such long hours. It’s not fair on my family.

2 . TREATING EVERYONE EQUALLY treating everyone in a way that is right or equal OPP unfair :

Why does Eric get to go and I don’t? It’s not fair!

Life isn’t always fair.

fair to

The old law wasn’t fair to women.

it’s only fair (that)

You pay him $10 an hour – it’s only fair that I should get the same.

My boss expects a lot – but he’s very fair.

3 . QUITE LARGE a fair size/amount/number/bit/distance etc especially British English quite a large size, number etc:

I’ve still got a fair amount of work left to do.

We had travelled a fair way (=quite a long distance) by lunch time.

there’s a fair chance (that)/of something (=it is quite likely that something will happen)

There’s a fair chance we’ll be coming over to England this summer.

4 . HAIR/SKIN someone who is fair, or who has fair hair or skin, has hair or skin that is very light in colour OPP dark

5 . ACCORDING TO THE RULES a fair fight, game, or election is one that is played or done according to the rules OPP unfair

6 . LEVEL OF ABILITY neither particularly good nor particularly bad SYN average :

Her written work is excellent but her practical work is only fair.

7 . WEATHER weather that is fair is pleasant and not windy, rainy etc SYN fine :

It should be generally fair and warm for the next few days.

8 . have had more than your fair share of something to have had more of something, especially something unpleasant, than seems reasonable:

Poor old Alan! He’s had more than his fair share of bad luck recently.

9 . give somebody a fair crack of the whip British English informal to give someone the opportunity to do something, especially so that they can show that they are able to do it

10 . give somebody/get a fair shake American English informal to treat someone, or to be treated, in a way that gives everyone the same chances as everyone else:

Women don’t always get a fair shake in business.

11 . by fair means or foul using any method to get what you want, including dishonest or illegal methods

12 . all’s fair in love and war used to say that in some situations any method of getting what you want is acceptable

13 . PLEASANT/ATTRACTIVE old use or literary pleasant and attractive:

a fair maiden

• • •


14 . fair enough especially British English used to say that you agree with someone’s suggestion or that something seems reasonable SYN OK :

‘I think we should split the bill.’ ‘Fair enough.’

15 . to be fair used when adding something after someone has been criticized, which helps to explain or excuse what they did SYN in fairness :

She should have phoned to tell us what her plans were although, to be fair, she’s been very busy.

16 . be fair! especially British English used to tell someone not to be unreasonable or criticize someone too much:

Now Pat, be fair, the poor girl’s trying her hardest!

17 . fair’s fair used when you think it is fair that someone should do something, especially because of something that has happened earlier:

Come on, fair’s fair – I paid last time so it’s your turn.

18 . fair comment British English used to say that a remark or criticism seems reasonable

19 . you can’t say fairer than that British English used to say that an offer you are making to someone is the best and fairest offer they can possibly get:

I’ll give you £25 for it – you can’t say fairer than that, can you?

20 . it’s a fair cop British English used humorously to admit that you should not be doing something that someone has caught you doing

21 . with your own fair hands British English if you do something with your own fair hands, you do it yourself without any help – used humorously ⇨ have a fair idea of something at ↑ idea

• • •


▪ fair treating people equally or in the way that is right:

It’s not fair that she gets paid more than me.


Everyone has the right to a fair trial.

▪ just formal morally right and fair:

a just punishment


a just cause


a just society


Do you think it was a just war?

▪ reasonable fair and sensible according to most people’s standards:

a reasonable request


Lateness, without a reasonable excuse, will not be tolerated.

▪ balanced giving fair and equal treatment to all sides of an argument or subject:

Balanced reporting of the news is essential.

▪ even-handed giving fair and equal treatment to everyone, especially when it would be easy to favour one particular group:

The drama takes an even-handed look at the consequences of violent crime, both on attackers and their victims.


The film is even-handed and does not try to make you support either side.

▪ equitable /ˈekwətəb ə l, ˈekwɪtəb ə l/ formal giving equal treatment to everyone involved:

We need an equitable solution to this problem.


a more equitable distribution of wealth

II. fair 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: feire , from Latin feriae 'holidays' ]

1 . ( also funfair British English ) a form of outdoor entertainment, at which there are large machines to ride on and games in which you can win prizes SYN carnival American English

2 . American English an outdoor event, at which there are large machines to ride on, games to play, and sometimes farm animals being judged and sold

state/county fair

3 . book/antiques/craft/trade etc fair an event at which people or businesses show and sell their products:

the Frankfurt Book Fair

an antiques fair

a trade fair (=where companies show their newest products)

a craft fair (=where people sell handmade products such as jewellery, paintings etc)

4 . job/careers fair an event where people go to get information about different kinds of jobs

5 . British English an outdoor event with games and things to eat and drink, usually organized to get money for a school, club etc SYN fête

6 . British English old-fashioned a market where animals and farm products are sold:

a horse fair

• • •


▪ exhibition an event at which a collection of paintings, interesting objects etc are shown to the public for a period of time:

All the photographs in the exhibition are for sale.


The Great Outdoors Exhibition is a great place to find out about new outdoors activities.

▪ show an exhibition. Show is less formal than exhibition . It can be used about small events as well as big public ones:

The artist is preparing a show at the Museum of Modern Art.


He is putting on a one-man show in a local gallery.


a trade show


the London Motor Show at Earl’s Court

▪ exhibit American English an exhibition:

an exhibit of Western paintings and sculptures

▪ fair an event at which people or businesses show or sell their products, which is often not open to the public:

the Frankfurt Book Fair for publishers and the media

▪ exposition a large and important public event at which people or businesses show or sell their products:

177 galleries from nineteen countries will take part in the Chicago International Art Exposition.

III. fair 3 S2 W3 BrE AmE adverb

[ Word Family: adverb : ↑ fairly ≠ ↑ unfairly , ↑ fair ; noun : ↑ fairness ≠ ↑ unfairness ; adjective : ↑ fair ≠ ↑ unfair ]

1 . win (something)/beat somebody fair and square to win a competition, sports match etc honestly and without cheating

2 . play fair to do something in a fair and honest way:

In international trade, very few countries play fair.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.