Meaning of PAIR in English


— pairwise , adv.

/pair/ , n. , pl. pairs, pair , v.


1. two identical, similar, or corresponding things that are matched for use together: a pair of gloves; a pair of earrings.

2. something consisting of or regarded as having two parts or pieces joined together: a pair of scissors; a pair of slacks.

3. two individuals who are similar or in some way associated: a pair of liars; a pair of seal pups.

4. a married, engaged, or dating couple.

5. two mated animals.

6. a span or team: a pair of horses.

7. Govt.

a. two members on opposite sides in a deliberative body who for convenience, as to permit absence, arrange together to forgo voting on a given occasion.

b. the arrangement thus made.

8. Cards.

a. two playing cards of the same denomination without regard to suit or color.

b. pairs , two card players who are matched together against different contestants.

9. pairs . See pair skating .

10. Also called kinematic pair . Mech. two parts or pieces so connected that they mutually constrain relative motion.

11. Philately. two postage stamps joined together either vertically or horizontally.

12. a set or combination of more than two objects forming a collective whole: a pair of beads.


13. to arrange or designate in pairs or groups of two: She paired dancers for the waltz contest.

14. to form into a pair, as by matching, joining, etc.; match; couple: to pair freshly washed socks.

15. (of animals) to cause to mate.


16. to separate into pairs or groups of two (usu. fol. by off ): to pair off for a procession.

17. to form a pair or pairs.

18. to be a member of a pair.

19. to match with or resemble another.

20. to unite in close association with another, as in a business partnership, friendship, marriage, etc.

21. (of animals) to mate.

22. Govt. (in a deliberative body) to form or arrange a pair.

[ 1250-1300; ME paire paria, pl. (taken as fem. sing.) of par a pair. See PAR 1 ]

Syn. 1. PAIR, BRACE, COUPLE, SPAN, YOKE are terms for groups of two. PAIR is used of two things naturally or habitually associated in use, or necessary to each other to make a complete set: a pair of dice. It is used also of one thing composed of two similar and complementary parts: a pair of trousers. BRACE is a hunter's term, used of a pair of dogs, ducks, etc., or a pair of pistols or slugs: a brace of partridges.

In COUPLE the idea of combination or interdependence has become greatly weakened; it may be used loosely for two of anything ( a couple of apples ), and even for more than two: I have to see a couple of people. SPAN is used of a matched pair of horses harnessed together side by side. YOKE applies to the two animals hitched together under a yoke for drawing and pulling: a yoke of oxen.

Usage . When used without a modifier, PAIRS is the only possible plural: Pairs of skaters glided over the ice. When modified by a number, PAIRS is the more common form, especially referring to persons: Six pairs of masked dancers led the procession. The unmarked plural PAIR is used mainly in reference to inanimate objects or nonhumans: He has three pair (or pairs ) of loafers. Two pair (or pairs ) of barn owls have nested on our property.

PAIR signifying two individuals can take either a singular or plural verb, but it is usually followed by a plural verb and referred to by a plural pronoun: The guilty pair have not been seen since their escape.

In the sense "a set or combination of more than two objects forming a collective whole," PAIR occurs chiefly in fixed phrases: a pair of beads; a pair of stairs. This use is now somewhat old-fashioned. See also collective noun, couple .

/perdd/ , adj.

French. noting any even number, esp. in roulette. Compare impair .

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .