Meaning of PAIR in English


I. pair 1 S2 W2 /peə $ per/ BrE AmE noun ( plural pairs or pair ) [countable]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: paire , from Latin paria 'equal things' , from par ; ⇨ ↑ par ]

1 . JOINED TOGETHER an object that is made from two similar parts that are joined together

pair of trousers/scissors/glasses etc

two pairs of jeans

a pair of black tights

2 .

BELONGING TOGETHER two things of the same type that are used together

pair of

a new pair of sandals

pair of hands/eyes/legs etc

She felt as if every pair of eyes in the room was on her.

earrings, £5 a pair

a pair of skis

We have five pairs of free tickets to give away.

3 . in pairs in groups of two:

We worked in pairs for the role-play exercise.

The leaves of the tree are arranged in pairs.

4 . TWO PEOPLE two people who are standing or doing something together, or who have some type of connection with each other:

The pair are looking for sponsorship from local businesses.

pair of

a pair of dancers

► Do not use pair to talk about a husband and wife (or two people in a similar relationship). Use couple : They’re a nice couple (NOT pair).

5 . the pair of you/them British English spoken used when you are angry or annoyed with two people:

Oh, get out, the pair of you.


a) a male and a female animal that come together in order to ↑ breed

pair of

a pair of doves

a breeding pair

b) old use two horses that work together

7 . I’ve only got one pair of hands spoken used to say that you are busy and cannot do any more than you are already doing

8 . an extra pair of hands someone who helps you do something when you are busy:

Having an extra pair of hands during busy periods can take the pressure off.

9 . a safe pair of hands someone you can trust and depend on because they are sensible – used especially in news reports:

Colleagues regard him as a safe pair of hands.

• • •


▪ pair two things of the same type that you use together. Also used about two people who do something together or who you often see together:

a pair of shoes


a pair of socks


Winners will receive a pair of tickets for the show.


The pair were arrested six days after the killing.


They're a funny pair!


The British pair will be playing in the final on Saturday.

▪ a couple (of something) two things of the same type, or a very small number of things:

There were a couple of empty seats at the table.


Do you have any stamps? I just need a couple.

▪ couple noun [countable] two people who are married or having a sexual relationship:

a married couple


The couple met at university.

▪ twins noun [plural] two children who were born on the same day to the same mother:

The twins look very alike.


identical twins

▪ duo noun [countable] two people who perform together or who are often seen together:

a comedy duo

▪ duet noun [countable] a piece of music written for two people to play:

They played a duet by Brahms.

▪ twice two times adverb :

The group meets twice a week.


She sneezed twice.

II. pair 2 BrE AmE verb

1 . [I, T usually passive] to put people or things into groups of two, or to form groups of two

be paired with somebody

We were each paired with a newcomer to help with training.

2 . ( also pair up ) [intransitive] if animals pair, they come together in order to ↑ breed

pair off phrasal verb

to come together or bring two people together to have a romantic relationship:

All the others were pairing off and I was left on my own.

pair somebody off with somebody

My aunt was forever pairing me off with unsuitable men.

pair up phrasal verb

1 . British English to become friends and start to have a relationship:

We learned later that he and Tanya had paired up.

2 . to work together to do something or to put two people together to do something:

They first paired up in the screen adaptation of ‘Grease’.

pair somebody ↔ up

They have paired up writers and artists, and commissioned linked works.

3 . if animals pair up, they come together in order to ↑ breed

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