pair

noun
\ 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)

pair

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for pair

Synonyms: Noun

brace, couple, couplet, duo, dyad, twain, twosome

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Later that day, Kate was shown a pair of bricks at Bletchley Park inscribed with their names: Valerie Glassborow and Mary Glassborow. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Says Prince Louis "Is Keeping Us on Our Toes"," 15 May 2019 At one point, Bella Hadid shows up and disappears with Dance into a fitting area before emerging in a pair of silky black briefs, serious heels, and a black-and-white checked jacket. Jonathan Van Meter, Vogue, "“My Job Is To Be a Spirit Leader”: Behind the Scenes with Virgil Abloh," 14 May 2019 The idea is to finish with four clubs, the cream of the continent, duking it out for European supremacy in a pair of glittering finals. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Europe Now Belongs to the Premier League," 10 May 2019 The previous record was set by Helios 2, one in a pair of probes NASA launched in 1974, which reached its point of study in 1976. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How a Second Look At 40-Year-Old Studies Helped Explain Solar Wind," 6 Apr. 2019 Olives and artichokes are the perfect pair on citrusy noodles. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Lemony Artichoke Linguine with Olives," 29 Apr. 2019 The collection features porcelain trays, coasters, and boxes emblazoned with a silver hemp leaf on a black background or a sultry pair of red lips dangling a smoke. Jennifer Milne, ELLE Decor, "In Time for 4/20, the Ultimate and Uber-Chic Weed Accessories from Jonathan Adler," 19 Apr. 2019 Highly sought after today by tastemakers and collectors around the globe, Polar Bear sofas and pairs of chairs can command more than half a million dollars at auction or from a top dealer. Stephen Wallis, Town & Country, "This Polar Bear Sofa Is Beloved By the Very Rich," 15 Apr. 2019 The Silvertips, who scored three goals in each period, got three goals and an assist from Bryce Kindropp and a pair of goals from Zack Andrusiak. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Everett Silvertips advance, but season comes to an end for T-birds," 30 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Barrick has long considered merging with Newmont to pair up their large gold-mining operations in Nevada and create an industry giant that would dwarf its nearest competitor. Jacquie Mcnish, WSJ, "Barrick Gold Is Considering Possible Deal With Newmont," 22 Feb. 2019 Envoy, which pairs electric vehicles with specific properties, including apartment buildings, will offer a pair of Volkswagen e-Golf cars at 71 locations around the city, many strategically positioned to help low-income areas. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Sacramento’s $44 million plan to become the U.S. electric car capital," 17 July 2018 Ne-Yo showed up in a bright yellow suit paired with a cool pair of sneakers and shades. Carolina Gonzales, Houston Chronicle, "Pride Month on display at the BET Awards: Best and worst dressed celebrities," 24 June 2018 Besides buffering the state from a foster-care system implosion, Sutphin points to research suggesting children who have unfit parents thrive better mentally and emotionally when paired with relatives rather than strangers. Marcus Harrison Green, The Seattle Times, "Grandparents raising grandkids say they need more help from Washington state," 28 Dec. 2018 Harington again went for a black ensemble, that time paired with a cozy turtleneck. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kit Harington and Rose Leslie Have a Sweet Night Out in NYC," 9 Apr. 2019 Leggings paired with an undershirt and sweater are her chosen uniform. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "Rent the Runway Launches Kids—and My Two Daughters Took It for a Test Drive," 8 Apr. 2019 Honestly, Taemin's golden smoky eyes perfectly paired with the snake slithering over his arm. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Why Taemin Won't Apologize For His Androgynous Aesthetic Anymore," 15 Mar. 2019 These new insights into the workings of the brain, paired with other findings, could help in the understanding and early detection of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, scientists say. ... Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "Unlocking Secrets of Memory and Time in the Brain," 13 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of pair

Noun

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

Verb

1606, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for pair

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pair

Statistics for pair

Last Updated

25 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pair

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pair

pair

noun

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

pair

verb

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

: to put (two people or things) together

pair

noun
\ 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.

pair

verb
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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pair

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pair

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pair

Spanish Central: Translation of pair

Nglish: Translation of pair for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pair for Arabic Speakers

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!