\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, 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

These nails are definitely perfect for summer, so make sure to match your mani to your feet with a pair of jelly sandals, and then hit the beach. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Jelly Nails Take Over Instagram," 14 July 2018 For a pair of world leaders on a national stage, this is unusual behavior., "Why Do Trump & Theresa May Keep Holding Hands?," 13 July 2018 While the promise of an enthralling pitchers’ duel instead gave way to a pair of pedestrian performances, there was little grumbling from the Yankees, who bulled their way past the Indians for a 7-4 victory. New York Times, "A Potential Pitching Showcase Melts Into a Rugged Yankees Win," 12 July 2018 Traveling near Danbury on the night their brother captured the heavyweight crown, two of Marciano’s sisters were stopped by state troopers who were searching for a pair of escapees from the nearby women’s prison. Chris Brodeur,, "UConn Professor Chronicles Rocky Marciano's Rise Set Against Boxing's Murky Underworld," 12 July 2018 The reactor designs call for a pair of concentric long metallic tubes, heated to 450°C. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Ammonia—a renewable fuel made from sun, air, and water—could power the globe without carbon," 12 July 2018 The Linc, however, will play host to a pair of open practices, at 7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 5, and at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 11. Mitchell Gladstone,, "Eagles announce training camp schedule, open practice dates," 11 July 2018 According to a pair of academics in Vancouver, there actually is a formula at work. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How teardowns hurt housing affordability, and how to fix it," 11 July 2018 The Ambassador Awards were given to a pair of student-athletes who pointed their teammates and their competitors towards Christ. Mike May,, "Berean Christian School student-athletes feted at awards ceremony," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Offering up a fresh spin on a mensy three-piece suit, Watson chose a pristine monochromatic motif, pairing a sharp blazer and button-up vest with more billowy trousers. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Emma Watson Might Be the Best-Dressed Celebrity at Wimbledon," 14 July 2018 No doubt some of those longest-serving fans will be on hand Friday night when Journey lands at Comerica Park with co-headliner Def Leppard, a powerhouse pairing from two of the biggest rock hit-makers of the '80s. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit still has open arms for Journey as band arrives with Def Leppard," 12 July 2018 The songwriting team met eight years ago in a workshop that paired seven writers with seven composers, in a rotating arrangement, over the course of two weeks. Christopher Wallenberg,, "In ‘Lempicka,’ an artist who lives her life in bold strokes," 12 July 2018 The over-ear clip makes them stable and comfortable, and the W1 chip makes pairing a breeze. Adrienne So, WIRED, "The Best Wireless Workout Headphones," 11 July 2018 Meghan changed into a sleek pair of black pants paired with a black blazer and fitted white shirt for their next excursion. Simon Perry,, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Kick Off Another Magical Day in Ireland!," 11 July 2018 According to a press release, the two will be hosting unique bourbon pairing dinners at Truluck's locations in Austin (Arboretum), Dallas, Houston, Southlake, and The Woodlands. Daniela Sternitzky-di Napoli, Houston Chronicle, "Texas distillery teams up with Truluck's Seafood to help save Balmorhea State Park," 10 July 2018 While Meghan Markle opted for an all black ensemble, Kate wore McQueen, paired nude heels. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Makes a Surprise Appearance Wearing McQueen at the RAF 100th Anniversary Celebrations," 10 July 2018 The shoe is made out of a soft leather that's even more beautiful in person than online, giving it a sleek, feminine look that's perfect for pairing with dresses and skirts—not just jeans. Rebecca Shinners,, "These Millennial Pink Sneakers Are So Comfortable, I Haven’t Worn Anything Else This Summer," 9 July 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

9 Nov 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).


by force of circumstances

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