Meaning of PAIR in English
/ peə(r); NAmE per/ noun , verb
TWO THINGS THE SAME
[ C ] two things of the same type, especially when they are used or worn together :
a pair of gloves / shoes / earrings, etc.
a huge pair of eyes
The vase is one of a matching pair .
TWO PARTS JOINED
[ C ] an object consisting of two parts that are joined together :
a pair of trousers / pants / jeans, etc.
a pair of glasses / binoculars / scissors, etc.
HELP NOTE : A plural verb is sometimes used with pair in the singular in senses 1 and 2. In informal NAmE some people use pair as a plural form:
three pair of shoes
. This is not considered correct in written English.
[ C +sing./pl. v . ] two people who are doing sth together or who have a particular relationship :
Get pairs of students to act out the dialogue in front of the class.
Get the students to do the exercise as pair work (= two students work together).
( informal )
I've had enough of the pair of you!
HELP NOTE : In BrE a plural verb is usually used:
A pair of children were kicking a ball about.
The pair are planning a trip to India together.
TWO ANIMALS / BIRDS
[ C +sing./pl. v . ] two animals or birds of the same type that are breeding together :
a breeding pair
a pair of swans
[ C ] two horses working together to pull a carriage :
a carriage and pair
—see also au pair
- a pair of hands
- in pairs
- I've only got one pair of hands
MAKE GROUPS OF TWO
[ vn ] [ usually passive ] pair A with B | pair A and B (together) to put people or things into groups of two :
Each blind student was paired with a sighted student.
All the shoes on the floor were neatly paired.
OF ANIMALS / BIRDS
[ v ] ( technical ) to come together in order to breed :
Many of the species pair for life.
- pair off (with sb) | pair sb off (with sb)
- pair up (with sb) | pair sb up (with sb)
Middle English : from Old French paire , from Latin paria equal things, neuter plural of par equal. Formerly phrases such as a pair of gloves were expressed without of , as in a pair gloves (compare with German ein Paar Handschuhe ).
Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary. Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне. 2005