Meaning of PAIR in English


I. ˈpa(a)](ə)r, ˈpe], ]ə\ noun

( plural pairs also pair )

Etymology: Middle English peire, paire, from Old French paire, from Latin paria equal things, from neuter plural of par equal; probably akin to Greek pernanai to sell, pornē harlot, poreuein to convey — more at fare



(1) : a set of two separate things designed to be used together that may correspond to each other to the extent of being identical (as in shape, size, color, material)

a pair of candlesticks

a pair of oars

a pair of dice

or nearly identical except for differences arising typically out of adaptation to use with or on the right and left sides or parts of something

a pair of shoes

a pair of socks

a pair of stirrups

a pair of bookends

or with or on the upper or lower parts or levels of something

had arranged a matching pair of shelves one above the other on the wall

and that may sometimes have only a general correspondence (as in color, design) and otherwise differ markedly (as in shape) while designed to be used together and together forming a single integral unit

a pair of pajamas

(2) : a set of two corresponding bodily parts or members

had a beautiful pair of eyes

a pair of muscular hands

b. : something made up of two corresponding parts or pieces joined together at or near one end

pair of trousers

pair of scissors

pair of tweezers

pair of pliers

or at some other point

pair of suspenders

pair of eyeglasses

so as to form a single integral unit


a. : a set of two separate things that are identical or similar

a pair of twins

or that happen to be closely associated without necessarily being identical or similar

the horse and rider made a fine pair

or that in some other way occur together or are brought together or are used together or are viewed as together forming a closely associated couple that is usually but not necessarily made up of two things that are of the same kind or are identical or similar or that correspond in some other way : a group of two

a pair of brothers

noticed that some of the plants grew in pairs

a pair of champions

picked up a pair of greeting cards

minimal pairs in phonemics


(1) : a mated couple of animals

a pair of bears

a pair of robins

(2) : a couple in love ; especially : an engaged or married couple

were a devoted pair

congratulated the newly married pair

(3) : a combination of two playing cards of the same value or denomination

held a pair

(4) : a couple of horses harnessed together side by side

a carriage and pair

(5) : a couple of partners (as in a game, at a dance, in a business enterprise)

a pair of bridge players

enjoyed watching the waltzing pairs

are a shrewd pair

(6) : a couple of individuals that are members of opposite parties or hold opposed opinions in a deliberative body and that mutually agree not to vote on a specific issue during a time (as a period of absence of one or both) agreed on

(7) : a couple of individuals that are being spoken of or otherwise considered

you'll remember that pair , I think

especially : a couple of individuals that have something (as specific traits of character) in common

were an honest pair

(8) : a combination of two kinematic parts applied to each other in such a way as mutually to constrain relative motion

a cylinder and its piston are a sliding pair

(9) : a couple of postage stamps attached to each other

(10) : a basketry plait made up of two rods woven alternately one over the other


(1) : partnership

working in pairs

especially : a partnership of two players (as bridge players) or other contestants engaged in a game or other contest against another such partnership

(2) pairs plural : a game, contest, or tournament engaged in by players or other contestants divided up into such partnerships

succeeded in winning the pairs

c. : an agreement not to vote made by the two members of a pair (sense 2a(6))

d. : pair-oar

well-trained in sculls, pairs and fours — Sports Illustrated

3. chiefly dialect : an integral whole made up of a set or succession of more than two things (as parts, pieces, sections) that usually closely resemble each other or belong together for completeness: as

a. : a series of small objects (as beads) strung together (as in a necklace or rosary) : string

b. : a musical instrument made up of several related parts

a pair of beautiful old organs — W.M.Thackeray

c. : a graduated succession of steps : flight

two pair of stairs — Henry Fielding

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

transitive verb


a. : to make a pair of (as by bringing together, joining, matching, associating, mating)

paired the two films in a double bill

paired a couple of cards

— often used with off or up

paired off the animals


(1) : to cause to be a member of a pair — often used with up

paired him up with an opponent about his equal

(2) : to bring into a mutual agreement not to vote on a specific issue during a time agreed on

missed a vote on an important issue … by being paired — Current Biography

2. : to arrange in pairs : separate into pairs

paired her guests into congenial couples

— often used with off

paired off the group into couples for the next dance

intransitive verb

1. : to form a matching or equal member of a pair — often used with off or up

a shoe that doesn't pair up with the other



(1) : to become united or closely associated with another so as to form a pair (as by partnership, companionship, mating) — often used with off or up

paired up with an old friend

the season when most birds pair off

(2) : to come to a mutual agreement with one of an opposite party or opinion not to vote on a specific issue during a time agreed on

failed to appear, pair , or announce his position — New York Times

b. : to become grouped or separated into pairs — often used with off

the happy crowd gradually paired off

3. : to achieve or show a combination of two playing cards of equal value or denomination

on my fourth card I paired

III. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English pairen, short for apairen, apeyren, ampayrien, from Old French empeirier — more at impair

chiefly dialect : impair

IV. noun

( -s )

Etymology: French pair, adjective, even, equal, from Latin par equal

: the even numbers in roulette when a bet is made on them

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.