\ 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

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Synonyms for pair

Synonyms: Noun

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those are front-runners to form the third pair, though Madison Bowey, if he is re-signed, should challenge for one of the spots. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings 2020-21 opening lineup: Our predictions for who'll be out there Night 1," 17 Sep. 2020 The school said no, the pair did it anyway, got suspended from the team, the public got irate and the suspension was lifted. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: The Big 10 should just admit it needs the money football provides," 17 Sep. 2020 The pair have been working together for a little more than a year after Braddock specifically asked for Creighton to be his co-host. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "ESPN Houston's Jayson Braddock, Patrick Creighton squash beef after radio argument goes viral," 16 Sep. 2020 No videos from the latest operation have surfaced, but there could be many hours of footage because the pair were in touch with the liberal groups from June to September. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin liberal groups tell attorney general they believe they were targeted by undercover group Project Veritas," 16 Sep. 2020 The pair add that their new perspective has been a positive change all around for them. Emily Strohm,, "Why Jill Duggar Dillard Decided to Drink Alcohol: ‘I’m Okay with People Not Being Okay with It’," 16 Sep. 2020 Employee Joshua Zier told deputies the pair had nearly completed their inspection and were about to climb down. David Harris,, "Report details fatal fall of StarFlyer employee who loved working on rides," 16 Sep. 2020 Since the podcast premiered this spring, the pair's guests have included actors Kumail Nanjiani, Thomas Jane, and Elijah Wood; directors Karyn Kusama, Mike Flanagan, and Scott Derrickson; and writer Seth Grahame-Smith, among others. Clark Collis,, "The hosts of Kingcast name their top 10 favorite Stephen King films," 16 Sep. 2020 Kamara took the lion’s share of the running back snaps, with 45 compared to Murray’s 23, but the pair were much closer in terms of touches. Luke Johnson,, "Saints balance the workload between Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray in Week 1," 16 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To pair with Becke’s presentation, Becke was also part of a letter campaign that saw about 50 residents send letters in about the lake and the village’s potential plans. James T. Norman,, "Mundelein board tables 2020 Comprehensive Plan amid issues raised with changes to Diamond Lake: ‘This lake is a treasure. It’s 10,000 years old.'," 15 Sep. 2020 To pair with the new limited-time McNuggets, McDonald's is also introducing a Mighty Hot Sauce combining crushed red pepper, spicy chilis and savory garlic. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Free Spicy Chicken McNuggets: McDonald's offering 'Spicesurance' buy-one-get-one deal Wednesday on app," 15 Sep. 2020 Gates said that his foundation is working with other alliances to pair western vaccine manufactures like Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and Novavax with manufacturers in Asia. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Bill Gates says rich countries need to ensure Covid-19 vaccines can be made globally," 15 Sep. 2020 One man even called for advice on a wine from his home cellar to pair with a meal. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "Where to Find the Best Wine Values Now—and Some Friendly Advice," 3 Sep. 2020 Ever since, music videos have given musicians a whole other realm to express themselves and create hot and heavy visuals to pair with their equally steamy songs. Nicole Demarco And Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, "21 Sexy Music Videos You Definitely Shouldn't Watch at Work," 1 Sep. 2020 The Broncos signed free agent running back Melvin Gordon to pair with Phillip Lindsay. oregonlive, "Fantasy Football 2020: Justin Herbert among 10 breakout candidates at quarterback," 28 Aug. 2020 With Thomas’ departure, the Ravens will likely turn to safety DeShon Elliott to pair with Clark in the team’s talented secondary. Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens reportedly parting ways with Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas III," 23 Aug. 2020 Drivers who pair their phones via Bluetooth can get directions, make phone calls, and select and play audio using Alexa's voice-recognition software. Annie White, Car and Driver, "2020 Buick Encore GX Might Bore Us, but It Does the Job," 20 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for pair

Time Traveler

The first known use of pair was in the 14th century

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Statistics for pair

Last Updated

19 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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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.

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