\ 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 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, dyad, 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

The Champions League was delivered to the madcap BVB fans in 1997, while a pair of Bundesliga triumphs and a DFB Pokal were also won during the German's tenure., "7 Football Managers Who Have Taken Charge of Fierce Rivals," 15 July 2019 The largest model, at 14-by-20 feet, can be divided into two rooms A pair of 85-foot ziplines run between the yurt and the deck of the Marens’ house. . Amy Gamerman, WSJ, "Pop-Up Tents No S’more: Glamping Is the New Backyard Camping," 11 July 2019 If friendships could take on a physical form, the bond between Yoshi Yamada and Zeeshan Shah would manifest as Superkhana International, the pair’s new Indian restaurant, which will open in Logan Square on Tuesday. Adam Lukach,, "First Look: Superkhana International brings a celebration of Indian food to gorgeous space in Logan Square," 11 July 2019 All of that is why the Pacers see Brogdon (age 26) and Victor Oladipo (27), a pair of combo guards in a league veering toward position-less basketball, as their backcourt of the future. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Meet Malcolm Brogdon, President Point Guard," 8 July 2019 With direct assistance from Marvel, the pair of films have revived the web-slinging hero following the two Amazing Spider-Man films, which earned $758 million and $709 million, respectively, at the global box office. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Box Office: How 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Beat Franchise Fatigue," 8 July 2019 Thomas, a top-10 recruit in Ohio by 247sports, had 38 tackles, a pair of sacks and two interceptions (including a 78-yard pick-six) last season. Shelby Dermer,, "Cincinnati's Mr. Football curse: Will 2019 be the year it comes to an end?," 8 July 2019 In the video for the song, Maluma flaunts one of the most polarizing menswear accessories out there: a pair of suspenders. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Maluma Is Men’s Fashion’s Hottest New Muse," 5 July 2019 Sleepwear brand Lunya has an all-in-one fix with its Restore Travel Kit, which comes with a basic tank, a long-sleeve tee, a pair of leggings, a sleep mask, and socks. Andrea Cheng, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Most Comfortable Brands to Wear on a Long-Haul Flight," 2 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The dish is paired with Killer Robots, an American wheat ale by Black Acre Brewing Company. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "This Old Louisville restaurant is the best in the city, our dining critic says," 17 July 2019 In his speech, Jones said the changes in immigration under Trump do not pair well with American values. Libby Solomon,, "'We are fighting back’: Across Maryland, activists rally against planned ICE raids," 13 July 2019 For the past 35 years, this stretch of paradise about six miles south of Big Pine Key, one of the islands that make up the archipelago, has hosted the Underwater Music Festival, an event that pairs music with conservation. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "This Florida Music Festival Takes Place Completely Underwater," 11 July 2019 To illustrate their findings the Crowther Lab in Switzerland created a global data map that pairs one city’s future climate conditions with current ones. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "By 2050, many U.S. cities will have weather like they’ve never seen," 10 July 2019 Waterbury resident Sarah Diaz was paired with Oklahoma painter Tim Kenney, who interviewed her about her Parkinson’s experience, then began creating a painting about it. Alix Boyle,, "Parkinson’s And Art: Painters Help Patients Tell Their Story," 10 July 2019 The most immediate standout is a three-night series of double features that pair a classic Hollywood film noir with a contemporaneous screwball comedy. Jordan Cronk, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Picks: A July To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.," 1 July 2019 Which Face Is Real?, an online game that pairs each counterfeit with a photo of a real person and challenges players to pick out the true human. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Artificial Intelligence Is Coming for Our Faces," 24 June 2019 Bottoms mentioned launching My Brother’s Keeper in Atlanta – a program created under former President Barack Obama’s administration that pairs boys with mentors. USA TODAY, "Child rock climber, baby doll scare, real-life RoboCop: News from around our 50 states," 20 June 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.

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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

20 Jul 2019

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 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

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).


something desired as essential

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