\ ˈper \
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 up paired 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 up paired up with an old friend

b : to become grouped or separated into pairs often used with off paired off for the next dance

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Synonyms for pair

Synonyms: Noun

brace, couple, couplet, duo, twain, twosome

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Examples of pair in a Sentence


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.


The teacher paired students with partners for the assignment.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Weeks after the pair’s divorce became final in 1951, Sinatra’s ex-husband married Gardner, while Sinatra went on to raise the couple’s three children: Nancy, Frank Jr. and Tina. John Rogers,, "Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, dies at 101," 14 July 2018 Martin Prado grounded into a pair of double plays to erase Justin Bour from the basepaths. Matthew Defranks,, "Wei-Yin Chen dominant again at home, but Marlins lose to Phillies," 14 July 2018 Love was a droopy spaghetti strap, a low-slung pair of pants, or a beanie hat as floppy as that piece of lettuce Gyllenhaal once watched Dunst shovel into her mouth. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "Celebrities Are Slipping Into Love Like a Pair of Slide Sandals," 13 July 2018 On the unluckiest of nights, the South had little go its way as a pair of leads vanished and the potential score on its second offensive series slipped away with a fumble by Stevens on the North 3. Rich Torress, Indianapolis Star, "North extends winning streak to four in IFCA All-Star game," 13 July 2018 He was traded to Cleveland last summer along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a pair of picks for Kyrie Irving. Khadrice Rollins,, "Report: Isaiah Thomas Agrees to One-Year Deal With Nuggets Worth Veteran's Minimum," 13 July 2018 Even 21 years after Dav Pilkey drew his first pair of briefs, his children’s graphic-novel characters are still loved, with this animated series following the film adaptation featuring voice acting from Kevin Hart and Ed Helms. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘Operation Thai Cave Rescue’ and Jim Jefferies," 13 July 2018 The shrimp shumai revealed subtle flavor, as did a pair of light, crispy spring rolls. Tim Smith,, "Miku Sushi and Steakhouse a pleasant haven in Cockeysville," 12 July 2018 Minimalist props—a pair of glasses, a hat—help differentiate between them. The Economist, "On stage, the saga of the Lehman brothers is a parable of America," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Councilman David Mann told The Enquirer earlier this week that change must be paired with a residential parking plan. Sharon Coolidge,, "Cincinnati unveils long-awaited OTR residential parking plan. Only thing missing? The cost.," 13 July 2018 Hartford Athletic has yet to be paired with an MLS team, although the New England Revolution are among the few MLS teams without an USL affiliate. Shawn Mcfarland,, "Everything You Need To Know About The USL And Hartford's New Pro Soccer Team," 12 July 2018 To help replace the Cousins void, the Pelicans agreed to a two-year deal worth about $18 million with former Lakers big man Julius Randle, who will now pair with his fellow Kentucky product Anthony Davis in the New Orleans frontcourt. Tim Reynolds,, "Warriors set to add DeMarcus Cousins to lineup," 2 July 2018 Soulful Wellness, Ross said, is owned by a group of doctors, lawyers, and pharmaceutical executives who have paired with a former principal who worked with a Colorado marijuana company. Sam Wood,, "Where the Weed Things Are: Marijuana growers eye former Strawbridge's, U.S. Steel plant," 29 June 2018 Explanation: As penance for the Tomas Tatar deal, Vegas sends its first-rounder to Detroit, who pairs a Canadian forward with their American defenseman taken at No. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Final NHL mock draft: Major changes in top 10; Coyotes could land Brady Tkachuk," 20 June 2018 There was a decadent spread of Middle Eastern food (think spicy chicken skewers, and doughy bites of falafel) which paired well with a flute of Champagne. Maria Ward, Vogue, "The Band’s Visit Wins Big at the Tony Awards—And Celebrates Accordingly," 11 June 2018 The cooking demonstrations, which will pair up culinary celebrities like Giada de Laurentiis and Hubert Keller with the likes of Warren G, the Harlem Globetrotters and Trisha Yearwood, are feasts for the eyes only. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "BottleRock 2018: Tips on how to rock Napa’s biggest music festival," 24 May 2018 La Mer, for one, which pairs the healing qualities of the sea with nourishing hydration and buildable coverage. Maria Cassano, Allure, "E-Retailer Spring Is Having a Sale on All These Luxury Beauty Brands Right Now," 17 May 2018

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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Statistics for pair

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pair

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

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More Definitions for pair



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 \
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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Comments on pair

What made you want to look up pair? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make amends

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