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Idioms about fair

Origin of fair

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English fæger “beautiful, attractive”; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German fagar, “beautiful, peaceful,” fagr, “beautiful, bright,” Gothic fagrs “fitting”

synonym study for fair

1. Fair, impartial, disinterested, unprejudiced refer to lack of bias in opinions, judgments, etc. Fair implies the treating of all sides alike, justly and equitably: a fair compromise. Impartial, like fair, implies showing no more favor to one side than another, but suggests particularly a judicial consideration of a case: an impartial judge. Disinterested implies a fairness arising particularly from lack of desire to obtain a selfish advantage: The motives of her guardian were entirely disinterested. Unprejudiced means not influenced or swayed by bias, or by prejudice caused by irrelevant considerations: an unprejudiced decision.


fairness, noun


fair , far, fare

Other definitions for fair (2 of 2)

[ fair ]
/ fɛər /

an exhibition, usually competitive, of farm products, livestock, etc., often combined with entertainment and held annually by a county or state.
a periodic gathering of buyers and sellers in an appointed place.
an exposition in which different exhibitors participate, sometimes with the purpose of buying or selling: More than twenty-five employers with multiple open positions will be meeting with applicants at this weekend’s job fair.
an exhibition and sale of articles to raise money, often for some charitable purpose.

Origin of fair

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English feire, from Anglo-French, Old French, from Late Latin fēria “religious festival, holiday” (Medieval Latin: “market”), in Latin only plural; akin to feast
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a basic definition fo fair?

Fair describes something as being free of bias or injustice. Fair also describes something as being done according to the rules or as being neither good nor bad. Fair has many other senses as an adjective, adverb, verb, and noun.

If something is fair, it does not favor one side or the other. It isn’t tainted by dishonesty or injustice. If something or someone is not fair, then they favor one side or are giving an unjust advantage. For example, a fair criminal judge has no prior opinion on whether a person is guilty and doesn’t treat an accused person differently from anyone else. A judge who isn’t fair might think that everyone brought to their courtroom is guilty and will punish them, even if the evidence shows that the accused is innocent. Something that is not fair is said to be unfair.

Real-life examples: In the United States, every person is guaranteed a fair trial when they are accused of a crime. Businesses are supposed to have fair hiring practices, in which nobody gets an advantage. Judges and referees are expected to make fair decisions and not show support to either side.

Used in a sentence: I am a fair person, giving every movie a chance to entertain me. 

Fair can also describe something as being done according to the rules. If something is fair, nobody cheated. For example, a soccer game in which both teams strictly follow the rules is fair. A soccer game where one team has twice as many players on the field at all times is not.

Used in a sentence: The committee decided the match was not a fair fight because one of the boxers had used steroids. 

Fair is also used in this same sense as an adverb to mean something was done in a fair way.

Used in a sentence: When it comes to Monopoly, I never play fair, doing anything to win.

Lastly, fair describes something as being mediocre or satisfactory. If something is fair, it is not really good or really bad. It is decent, acceptable, or good enough.

Used in a sentence: He gave me a fair price on the used car.

Where does fair come from?

The first records of fair come from before the 900s. It ultimately comes from the Old English fæger, meaning “beautiful” or “attractive.” The modern English fair can still be used in this sense, but it now has many other senses.

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What are some other forms related to fair?

What are some synonyms for fair?

What are some words that share a root or word element with fair

What are some words that often get used in discussing fair?

What are some words fair may be commonly confused with?

How is fair used in real life?

Fair is an extremely common word with many senses. It is often used to describe something as being unbiased or being done while following the rules.



Try using fair!

True or False?

A fair decision is one that is biased toward one side.

How to use fair in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fair (1 of 2)

Derived forms of fair

fairness, noun

Word Origin for fair

Old English fæger; related to Old Norse fagr, Old Saxon, Old High German fagar, Gothic fagrs suitable

British Dictionary definitions for fair (2 of 2)

/ (fɛə) /

a travelling entertainment with sideshows, rides, etc, esp one that visits places at the same time each year
a gathering of producers of and dealers in a given class of products to facilitate businessa book fair
an event including amusements and the sale of goods, esp for a charity; bazaar
a regular assembly at a specific place for the sale of goods, esp livestock

Word Origin for fair

C13: from Old French feire, from Late Latin fēria holiday, from Latin fēriae days of rest: related to festus festal
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with fair


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.