au pair

[ oh pair ]
/ oʊ ˈpɛər /


a person, usually a young foreign visitor, employed to take care of children, do housework, etc., in exchange for room and board: We sent the children to the beach with the au pair.


of, relating to, or employed under such an arrangement: an au pair girl.

Nearby words

  1. au fond,
  2. au gratin,
  3. au jus,
  4. au lait,
  5. au naturel,
  6. au poivre,
  7. au revoir,
  8. au vol,
  9. aua,
  10. aubade

Origin of au pair

1965–70; < French, literally, equal, even (au contraction of à le at the + pair equal (noun); cf. pair), referring to the equal exchange of work for room and board Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for au pair

au pair

/ (əʊ ˈpɛə, French o pɛr) /


  1. a young foreigner, usually a girl, who undertakes housework in exchange for board and lodging, esp in order to learn the language
  2. (as modifier)an au pair girl
a young person who lives temporarily with a family abroad in exchange for a reciprocal arrangement with his or her own family


(intr) to work as an au pair


as an au pairshe worked au pair in Greece

Word Origin for au pair

C20: from French: on an equal footing

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for au pair

au pair


1897 of the arrangement, 1960 of the girl; French, literally "on an equal footing" (see pair (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper