\ ˈper How to pronounce pair (audio) \
plural pairs or pair

Definition of pair

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : two corresponding things designed for use together a pair of shoes
(2) : two corresponding bodily parts or members a pair of hands
b : something made up of two corresponding pieces a pair of trousers
2a : two similar or associated things: such as
(1) : two mated animals
(2) : a couple in love, engaged, or married were a devoted pair
(3) : two playing cards of the same value or denomination and especially of the same rank
(4) : two horses harnessed side by side
(5) : two members of a deliberative body that agree not to vote on a specific issue during a time agreed on also : an agreement not to vote made by the two members
b : a partnership especially of two players in a contest against another partnership
3 chiefly dialectal : a set or series of small objects (such as beads)


paired; pairing; pairs

Definition of pair (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make a pair of often used with off or uppaired off the animals
b : to cause to be a member of a pair
c : to arrange a voting pair between
2 : to arrange in pairs

intransitive verb

1 : to constitute a member of a pair a sock that didn't pair
2a : to become associated with another often used with off or uppaired up with an old friend
b : to become grouped or separated into pairs often used with offpaired off for the next dance

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Synonyms for pair

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of pair in a Sentence

Noun He blushed when he saw all three pairs of eyes watching him. She won with a pair of aces. I got my first pair of glasses when I was eight. His two closest friends lived in the city and the pair of them visited him often. The dance is usually performed by a male and female pair. Those two kids make quite a pair. Verb The teacher paired students with partners for the assignment.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When the pair had an escape attempt foiled, the brothers were moved to Alcatraz. al, "A 1958 Alcatraz prison break’s strange ties to an Alabama bank robbery, prison death," 24 June 2020 And as for men's sneakers, this pair has over 1,000 reviews for being equal parts fashionable and functional. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "13 Amazon deals on summer 2020’s trendiest shoes: Crocs, Adidas, and more," 24 June 2020 From sleek cross-trainers to suede sneakers, stay comfortable in a fresh pair of kicks. NBC News, "Amazon Big Style Sale 2020: Best deals on clothes, shoes and more," 22 June 2020 The pair have a lot of advice now: COVID-19 is no joke. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘It’s almost like there’s this monster inside of you’," 19 June 2020 One person was killed and two people were injured in a pair of shootings Monday evening, according to Louisville police. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "1 person killed, 2 injured in pair of shootings Monday evening, Louisville police say," 17 June 2020 Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined with counterparts in several other states in a pair of vastly different endeavors last week., "Ohio Democrats using GOP’s Confederate flag vote to raise money," 14 June 2020 Mason Palmer scored twice, drove in a pair of runs and earned the victory on the mound as Florida State rushed to a 9-2 restart-to-the-season victory over Houston Saturday afternoon. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Busy baseball day at Bay Area Park gets youth sports going again," 13 June 2020 Sloan laid out the scheme to the SEC in a pair of letters from the summer of 1973. J.c. Hallman, The New Republic, "When Mr. Sloan Went to Washington," 11 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With Cannon added, the Cardinals have added another strong, and big, receiver to pair with Fitzpatrick in the future. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville football adds Missouri wide receiver Demetrius Cannon as 17th 2021 commitment," 23 June 2020 Through his draft expertise, Weaver helped pair Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka with star forward Kevin Durant, making Oklahoma City a threat in the Western Conference. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons 'struck gold' by hiring Troy Weaver as general manager," 19 June 2020 The pilot project will pair a Fire Bureau emergency medical technician with a mental health worker to respond to certain 911 calls in an effort to reduce police encounters with homeless people. oregonlive, "Portland police union, city reach tentative contract extension with deferred 2.9 % cost-of-living adjustment," 19 June 2020 Police departments in Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and several other cities pair officers with mental health workers on crisis calls. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘It’s way past time to try something new’: The push to defund police," 19 June 2020 This outdoor option from Outsunny is an easy way to upgrade your backyard in one fell swoop—and the modern, neutral color scheme will pair nicely with nearly any aesthetic. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Hammocks to Get Your Backyard Ready for Summer Staycations," 18 June 2020 Now that you’re set with dozens of dip opportunities, make sure to have a signature porch cocktail to pair with them. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, "How To Make Store-Bought Hummus Taste Impressively Homemade In Just Seconds," 16 June 2020 The California product should pair nicely with fellow Oregon commitment Kyron Ware-Hudson, an Under Armour All-American selection known for his physical, aggressive style of play. oregonlive, "Troy Franklin, nation’s No. 2 wide receiver, commits to Oregon Ducks over Alabama, Washington," 13 June 2020 No problem—simply pair it with a non-slip rug pad of the same size. Marissa Miller, USA TODAY, "13 popular patio furniture you can buy online," 12 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pair.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pair


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1606, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for pair


Middle English paire, from Anglo-French, from Latin paria equal things, from neuter plural of par equal

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Time Traveler for pair

Time Traveler

The first known use of pair was in the 14th century

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Statistics for pair

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for pair


How to pronounce pair (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pair

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: two things that are the same and are meant to be used together
: a thing that has two parts which are joined
: two people who are related in some way or who do something together



English Language Learners Definition of pair (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put (two people or things) together


\ ˈper How to pronounce pair (audio) \
plural pairs or pair

Kids Definition of pair

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : two things that match or are meant to be used together a pair of gloves a pair of draft horses
2 : a thing having two similar parts that are connected a pair of scissors
3 : two people who are connected in some way or do something together Those two are quite a pair.


paired; pairing

Kids Definition of pair (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put in or join in a group of two The guests paired off for dancing.
2 : to form a group of two : match This glove doesn't pair with that.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pair

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pair

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pair

Spanish Central: Translation of pair

Nglish: Translation of pair for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pair for Arabic Speakers

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