\ 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

Whether emerging from the gym or stepping onto the red carpet, the tight top knot (and pair of oversized hoop earrings, of course) has practically become her signature—and this recent look was no exception to that rule. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Jennifer Lopez Reveals New Proposal Photos—And the Ultimate Aisle-Ready Updo," 12 Mar. 2019 These television power pairs are each other's closest confidantes, allies, and cheerleaders. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "The Secret to Having the Best Relationship With Your Work Wife," 7 Mar. 2019 The AiryBuds Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds are an alternative pair of true wireless earbuds that won't induce buyer's remorse. Popular Mechanics, "Why Spend a Bunch When These AirPod Alternatives Are Only $25?," 6 Mar. 2019 Gigi rocked an all-white boiler suit, with an unusual pair of gloves. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bella Hadid and Gigi Hadid Are Totally Twinning at Paris Fashion Week," 2 Mar. 2019 The way single Americans pair up has changed a lot over the years. Dean Peterson, Vox, "How the economy shapes our love lives," 13 Feb. 2019 Here are some of our favorite finds that pair perfectly with the holiday of love. Nia Martin, The Seattle Times, "Valentine’s Day gifts that celebrate your Seattle love," 4 Feb. 2019 Acer’s Predator Triton 900 pairs its formidable firepower with a 17-inch, 4K display that swivels on its hinge so the screen faces outward. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "6 important CES 2019 reveals and trends that PC enthusiasts need to know about," 11 Jan. 2019 Here's what the private pair have said about life as parents. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk's Best Parenting Quotes Will Make You Melt," 23 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The future of fitness looks a lot like the Wahoo Kickr paired with Zwift. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "PM Approved: Kickr Smart Bike Trainer," 29 Jan. 2019 The police department paired her with trooper Daniel O'Neil, and by 2017, Ruby had helped with more than 15 missing-person cases. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "This Abandoned Shelter Dog Rescued the Missing Son of Her Former Trainer," 20 Nov. 2018 Simply pair them with a mask and your getup will be ready to go. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Folks Are Going Clucking Crazy Over These Chicken Leg Socks," 10 Aug. 2018 Perhaps the Tigers could have paired him with a player like Fulmer to load up on more prospects (the Dodgers scouted Greene extensively last month). Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Why Detroit Tigers may struggle to trade Shane Greene, Leonys Martin," 2 July 2018 Partnering with Daryl would offer Aaron a relationship with texture rather than just pairing him with Jesus — the show’s only other gay male — a move that even Tom Payne has said would be lazy. Rachel Cavanaugh, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Walking Dead': Why a Daryl-Aaron Romance Is a Good Idea (Opinion)," 26 June 2018 In addition to the everyday needs of the salamanders, the nuns measure and microchip the animals, as well as pair them up for breeding. National Geographic, "Nuns Resurrect Endangered Salamanders in First-of-its-Kind Conservation Effort," 19 June 2018 Jim James of My Morning Jacket will revisit his entire career with a new acoustic tour that will pair him with longtime friend and drummer Dave Givan. Jeffrey Lee Puckett, The Courier-Journal, "Jim James solo tour is coming to the Louisville Palace," 18 June 2018 Fox built a new debate show around Bayless, pairing him with another black co-host, the former wide receiver Shannon Sharpe. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "Stephen A. Smith Won’t Stop Talking," 16 June 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

16 Mar 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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