\ 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

According to TVLine, the pair are reuniting to develop a new cop drama at CBS called MIA. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Why 'NCIS' Star Cote de Pablo Really Left Ziva Behind," 12 Feb. 2019 Just last month, Kate chose a pair of sapphire earrings on a visit to Scotland that were originally part of a wedding gift given to Diana. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Wore Princess Diana's Pearl and Diamond Earrings to the BAFTAs," 11 Feb. 2019 As partners and co-owners of the design-and-construction firm Les Ensembliers, the pair is always up for a new project. Jennifer Fernandez, House Beautiful, "This Montreal Couple Designed a Whole House Around the Art," 6 Feb. 2019 Elsewhere, federal workers deprived of pay have been forced to take out loans to manage their personal finances, while the Senate is set to vote today on a pair of bills that could potentially end the shutdown. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Flight Attendants Union President: Government Shutdown Is 'Disaster' for Aviation Safety," 24 Jan. 2019 For evening or a special occasion, remove your jumper and throw on a pair of heels to dress it up. Minna Shim, Harper's BAZAAR, "The London-Based Brand Fashion Girls Are Obsessed With," 24 Jan. 2019 The actress chose a pair of $45 silver platform heels from Aldo as opposed to something more costly, and why not? Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Lupita Nyong’o’s Golden Globe Heels Cost $45—Shop the Look (for Less!)," 7 Jan. 2019 Like making gingerbread or trying on a new pair of shoes. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "Every Furby gets a home," 21 Dec. 2018 Sony’s PlayStation Now service already offers game streaming with a growing library of titles, while Microsoft recently took the wraps off its platform, to be called xCloud, that will reportedly run on a pair of next-gen consoles slated for 2020. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Google is giving away Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for free if you demo Project Stream," 18 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Notably, one of the evening’s few dudes-only slots pairing Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone — a combo no one was clamoring for — fell flattest. Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times, "Brandi Carlile wins 3 Grammys, gives stunning performance on music’s biggest stage," 11 Feb. 2019 This project suggests pairing humans with machines to crowdsource keywords for works of art that the Met archives, and then using those keywords in conjunction with the Wikimedia platforms to suggest related art when those keywords are called up. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft uses AI to bring the Met's art collection to the web—and your Instagram," 4 Feb. 2019 Getty Images In the 2019 pairing nobody saw coming, Naomi Campbell and Liam Payne seem to be dating. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "This Liam Payne and Naomi Campbell Timeline Is Very Telling," 4 Feb. 2019 When paired with an orange outfit, the beautiful beanie can even double as an easy Halloween costume that will actually keep you warm. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "This Chunky Knit Pumpkin Hat Will Be the Coziest Thing You Wear All Fall," 1 Oct. 2018 His utility jacket, paired with a cozy cardigan, tanned trousers, and sturdy combat boots, was an unexpected lewk. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "First Daniel Day-Lewis, Now Brooklyn Beckham Is Rocking This Classic American Workwear Label," 25 Jan. 2019 Boeing unveiled photos of the plane paired with its engines earlier this month, showcasing the aircraft's 118-foot wingspan, which the company says fashions it as the largest dual-engine plane in the world. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "GE's Enormous New Jet Engines Sound Fiercely Loud in Runway Test," 17 Jan. 2019 Meghan wore a bright red coat by Sentaler for the day, paired with a purple dress Babaton for Aritzia and matching red pumps by Stuart Weitzman. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wore a Gown By Roland Mouret to a Charity Performance of Cirque du Soleil at Royal Albert Hall," 16 Jan. 2019 Per the photos, Janel opted for black pants and a black bustier paired with a smoky eye. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "The "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" Cast Reunited at Lana Condor's "Deadly Class" Premiere," 4 Jan. 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

16 Feb 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 \
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).


excited commotion or publicity

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