\ 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

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

The 2020 model year also widens the availability of the 10-speed automatic, pairing it for the first time with the maker's 5.3-liter V-8 on certain Silverado trims. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado Toughens Up with New Diesel and Expanded V-8 Availability," 22 May 2019 To temper such a head-turning top, Mr. Snyder advised pairing it with rigid denim pants or high-waisted trousers with a tall cuff. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "This Retro Shirt Will Make You Look Like Jude Law This Summer," 21 May 2019 And consider pairing it with a 1-oz serving of dark chocolate, which is sold pre-portioned—so you're not temped to over do it. Marygrace Taylor, Woman's Day, "4 Heart-Healthy Diet Changes Every Woman Should Make," 1 May 2019 Ochsendorf says Tallon was able to make those scans work visually by pairing them with a panoramic photograph from the same spot, creating a near-realistic image of the space. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Rebuilding History: How 21st-Century Tech Can Save Medieval Notre Dame," 16 Apr. 2019 Slow roast grounds with vegetables and meat to highlight their earthiness, and pair them with chocolate in brownies and overnight oats to tame their bitterness. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "16 Recipes That Prove Ground Coffee Makes a Delicious Seasoning," 21 Mar. 2019 Getty ImagesAxelle/Bauer-Griffin The Maroon 5 singer was just as excited and supportive the second time his wife took the runway, this time wearing a corseted look paired with heeled sneakers. Marie Claire, "Adam Levine Cheering for Behati Prinsloo Is the Best Moment of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show," 9 Nov. 2018 Kendall opted for a more casual look, pairing a black teddy coat, black turtleneck, grey jeans, and dad-style sneakers, with a turquoise and gold hat. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Wore a Tiny Paper Hat for Her 23rd Birthday," 5 Nov. 2018 According to the tourism office, Butts was more reserved and Carel more outgoing — a combination that when paired together would tell a great story. Darcel Rockett,, "Illinois tourism sets up couple on 390-mile blind-date road trip," 6 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

25 May 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).


a strong desire or propensity

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