\ 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

Every Tuesday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., a pair of Play Ambassadors will be at a different park with balls, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, and friendship bracelet supplies., "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 5 June 2019 Indiana led by 17 points with 5:49 to go in the third quarter, helped by a pair of 12-1 runs in both the second and third quarters. Robert General, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana boys Junior All-Stars dominate Kentucky as both teams split series," 4 June 2019 For the on-the-go dad: A pair of wireless headphones Get the Apple AirPods on Sam’s Club for $147 22. Jessica Kasparian, USA TODAY, "The 25 best Father’s Day gifts of 2019," 3 June 2019 That came after a pair of second-place finishes after Joevia broke his maiden the first time out on July 15, 2018. Mark Inabinett |,, "Belmont Stakes 2019: Meet the contenders and watch them run," 3 June 2019 Note: a pair of the new THINX Air will retail for $32.00. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "THINX Is Launching Quick Drying Period Proof Underwear," 22 May 2019 In a twist of the bizarre, Twins starter Jose Berrios, who held the Mariners to just two hits – a pair of Edwin Encarnacion singles — over the first four innings, fell apart in the fifth inning. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "How low can they go? Mariners embarrassed by Minnesota in 18-4 shellacking," 19 May 2019 After all, the pair did fall in love during a trip to Botswana in 2016 and spent their honeymoon in East Africa. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Reportedly Might Be Moving to Africa," 21 Apr. 2019 Some of the most significant changes to the home that the pair did was knock down all the walls, creating an open concept, adding in huge windows to let in tons of natural light, and turning the kitchen from grunge to gourmet. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "The "Asian Ranch" House from 'Fixer Upper' is Now On The Market For $740,000," 12 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Raptors and Warriors are instructive on that front—both teams have been pairing All-Stars with journeymen and former G-Leaguers and trying to make the formula look seamless. Andrew Sharp,, "The Finals Are a Preview of a Better NBA Future," 5 June 2019 Full-On Fringe For a theatrical look that paired perfectly with her gorgeous Monique Lhuillier gown and floral headpiece (crafted by Jeannie Huang), makeup artist Emi Kaneko used falsies on Lee's top and bottom lashes. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "The Dramatic False Eyelash Trend Proves the Beauty World Is Ready to Bold Again," 7 May 2019 TrustedHousesitters is a website that pairs those with pets that are going away for an extended amount of time with a house sitter. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Here's How to Travel the World for Almost No Money, All by Petsitting," 27 Mar. 2019 The palette contains nine shades ranging in hues from a baby matte pink to a shimmering deep magenta, while the lipstick is a bright fuchsia that would definitely pair nicely with Princess Jasmine’s signature turquoise outfit. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "MAC Cosmetics Announces Disney "Aladdin" Collection," 16 Mar. 2019 Vanguard Group is shutting down a service for larger customers that paired a debit card with tools to help them manage cash. Dawn Lim, WSJ, "Vanguard to End Cash-Management Service for Larger Customers," 3 Mar. 2019 Guests are transported to the cabin via an open-air sleigh ride and then treated to a five-course meal of exquisite, regionally inspired fare and a menu that is carefully paired with spectacular wines. Discover Magazine, "The Great Snow of Beaver Creek," 3 Oct. 2018 There are large puffy inserts in front of the passenger and on the doors, and the driver is treated to an instrument cluster that pairs an analog speedometer with a multi-functional digital display. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "The 2019 Honda Insight is a strangely normal hybrid," 24 Aug. 2018 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

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

8 Jun 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

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