\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for pair

Synonyms: Noun

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 The No Spot Twins were indistinct in the first days — a close pair of orange beltons (orange ticking, but no patches) that slept and fed together. Anchorage Daily News, "Advice on how to pick a puppy (from someone who picked the whole litter)," 17 Sep. 2019 Style-wise, Tessa Thompson and Dev Hynes make for an interesting pair. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Are Tessa Thompson and Dev Hynes Fashion’s Next It Couple?," 16 Sep. 2019 But a pair of first quarter holding calls and that fumble that gave the Sharks new life made for a more difficult assignment. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Senior Rams reach TIFI’s halfway mark with 16-6 win over Sharks," 16 Sep. 2019 Crosswords play demented Yenta: alphabetical alchemy smashes together pairs that wouldn’t otherwise inhabit the same space-time continuum. Adrienne Raphel, The New Yorker, "How Crosswords Put Your Brain Into Hyperdrive," 16 Sep. 2019 Madey, a tall, Long Island native and avid golfer, and Madey, the short, ever-smiling kid from the German town just across the border from Switzerland, were an odd pair. oregonlive, "WaveCel bursts onto the bike scene, expands into Wilsonville facility," 16 Sep. 2019 The woman had been unable to reach O’Neill, which prompted her to go to the house to check on the pair, Santa Rosa Police Lt. Tatiana Sanchez,, "Suspect in Santa Rosa toddler’s death believed to be boy’s father," 15 Sep. 2019 Price: $33 per pair Details: 100 E Camelback Road, Phoenix. 480-212-0180. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "It's almost Arizona Restaurant Week. Here are 10 metro Phoenix restaurants worth trying," 13 Sep. 2019 The boots are even available in wide sizes, unlike a lot of other pairs. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Women's Hiking Boots for Any Outdoor Adventure," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The outline states the Office of Children & Family Success is partnering with nonprofits to establish transitional jobs and to create a Credible Mentor program pairing mentors with 10 young people each to help plan their personal development. Luke Broadwater,, "With Baltimore’s business leaders growing impatient, mayor reveals ‘Squeegee Alternative Plan’," 17 Sep. 2019 Now paired with the greatest player of his generation in LeBron James, can Davis finally make his postseason mark? Michael Shapiro,, "SI's NBA All-Decade Team: Second Team," 17 Sep. 2019 Both non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, often paired in employment contracts in jurisdictions that enforce them, are designed to protect an employer from competitive pressure from its former employees. Dan Eaton, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Restrictions on recruiting former colleagues may be void in California," 16 Sep. 2019 The Art Kitchen Nussbaumer’s own ikat print—paired with Thibaut on the ceiling—exemplifies the designer’s trademark pattern play. Kathryn O'shea-evans, House Beautiful, "Michelle Nussbaumer Designed Our 2019 Kitchen(s) of the Year," 9 Sep. 2019 Moon lies with Leo—September 26 Only a couple mornings after its dance with the celestial crab, the moon pairs up with Regulus, the 79 light-year star that marks the heart of Leo, the lion. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "See Neptune at its best and more top stargazing in September," 1 Sep. 2019 Marshall said lenders often pair AVMs with an inspection and use the tool for lower-risk products such as home equity loans, which are generally small compared to the value of the home. R.a. Schuetz, Houston Chronicle, "Your next property appraisal may come from a computer," 30 Aug. 2019 Funded by the Rochester Bridge Trust, the course is made up of nine holes that are each paired with a different type of model bridge — including Roman bridge at Rochester and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at Dartford, according to the church. Fox News, "Mini golf installation at historic English church irks critics: 'Don’t you dare pretend it’s still a cathedral'," 6 Aug. 2019 Surrender to Cueva's kitchen for a tasting menu that relies predominantly on the same native ingredients found in Puerto Rico's simple country kitchens, or fondas, especially fish and vegetables, and paired beautifully with a variety of wines. David Jefferys, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Spend 72 Hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico," 6 Aug. 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


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pair

Statistics for pair

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

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


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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


an agreement to stop fighting a war

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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