View synonyms for pair



[ pair ]


, plural pairs, pair.
  1. two identical, similar, or corresponding things that are matched for use together:

    a pair of gloves;

    a pair of earrings.

  2. something consisting of or regarded as having two parts or pieces joined together:

    a pair of scissors;

    a pair of slacks.

  3. two individuals who are similar or in some way associated:

    a pair of liars;

    a pair of seal pups.

  4. a married, engaged, or dating couple.
  5. two mated animals.
  6. a span or team:

    a pair of horses.

  7. Government.
    1. two members on opposite sides in a deliberative body who for convenience, as to permit absence, arrange together to forgo voting on a given occasion.
    2. the arrangement thus made.
  8. Cards.
    1. two playing cards of the same denomination without regard to suit or color.
    2. pairs, two card players who are matched together against different contestants.
  9. pairs, pair skating.
  10. Also called kinematic pair. Mechanics. two parts or pieces so connected that they mutually constrain relative motion.
  11. Philately. two postage stamps joined together either vertically or horizontally.
  12. a set or combination of more than two objects forming a collective whole:

    a pair of beads.

verb (used with object)

  1. to arrange or designate in pairs or groups of two:

    She paired dancers for the waltz contest.

  2. to form into a pair, as by matching, joining, etc.; match; couple:

    to pair freshly washed socks.

  3. (of animals) to cause to mate.

verb (used without object)

  1. to separate into pairs or groups of two (usually followed by off ):

    to pair off for a procession.

  2. to form a pair or pairs.
  3. to be a member of a pair.
  4. to match with or resemble another.
  5. to unite in close association with another, as in a business partnership, friendship, marriage, etc.
  6. (of animals) to mate.
  7. Government. (in a deliberative body) to form or arrange a pair.



[ per ]


  1. French. noting any even number, especially in roulette. Compare impair.



/ per /


  1. a Scot word for poor
“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



/ pɛə /


  1. two identical or similar things matched for use together

    a pair of socks

  2. two persons, animals, things, etc, used or grouped together

    a pair of scoundrels

    a pair of horses

  3. an object considered to be two identical or similar things joined together

    a pair of trousers

  4. two people joined in love or marriage
  5. a male and a female animal of the same species, esp such animals kept for breeding purposes
  6. parliamentary procedure
    1. two opposed members who both agree not to vote on a specified motion or for a specific period of time
    2. the agreement so made
  7. two playing cards of the same rank or denomination

    a pair of threes

  8. one member of a matching pair

    I can't find the pair to this glove

  9. cricket a pair of spectacles (the cricketing term) See spectacles
  10. rowing See pair-oar
  11. dialect.
    a group or set of more than two
  12. logic maths
    1. a set with two members
    2. an ordered set with two members
“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


  1. often foll by off to arrange or fall into groups of twos
  2. to group or be grouped in matching pairs

    to pair socks

  3. to join or be joined in marriage; mate or couple
  4. when tr, usually passive parliamentary procedure to form or cause to form a pair

    18 members were paired for the last vote

“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
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Like other collective nouns, pair takes a singular or a plural verb according to whether it is seen as a unit or as a collection of two things: the pair are said to dislike each other; a pair of good shoes is essential
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Grammar Note

When used without a modifier, pairs is the only possible plural: Pairs of skaters glided over the ice. When modified by a number, pairs is the more common form, especially referring to persons: Six pairs of masked dancers led the procession. The unmarked plural pair is used mainly in reference to inanimate objects or nonhumans: He has three pair (or pairs ) of loafers. Two pair (or pairs ) of barn owls have nested on our property. Pair signifying two individuals can take either a singular or plural verb, but it is usually followed by a plural verb and referred to by a plural pronoun: The guilty pair have not been seen since their escape. In the sense “a set or combination of more than two objects forming a collective whole,” pair occurs chiefly in fixed phrases: a pair of beads; a pair of stairs. This use is now somewhat old-fashioned. collective noun, couple.
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Other Words From

  • pairwise adverb
  • un·paired adjective
  • well-paired adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of pair1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English paire, from Old French, from Latin pāria, plural (taken as feminine singular) of pār “pair, partner,” also “equal, matching”; par 1

Origin of pair2

First recorded in 1820–30; from French: literally, “even,” from Latin pār “pair, partner,” also “equal, matching”; par 1( def )
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Word History and Origins

Origin of pair1

C13: from Old French paire, from Latin paria equal (things), from pār equal
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. grow a pair, Slang: Vulgar. to act in a stereotypically manly way, as by being brave:

    Stop the whining and grow a pair!

More idioms and phrases containing pair

In addition to the idiom beginning with pair , also see show one's (a clean pair of) heels .
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Synonym Study

Pair, brace, couple, span, yoke are terms for groups of two. Pair is used of two things naturally or habitually associated in use, or necessary to each other to make a complete set: a pair of dice. It is used also of one thing composed of two similar and complementary parts: a pair of trousers. Brace is a hunter's term, used of a pair of dogs, ducks, etc., or a pair of pistols or slugs: a brace of partridges. In couple the idea of combination or interdependence has become greatly weakened; it may be used loosely for two of anything ( a couple of apples ), and even for more than two: I have to see a couple of people. Span is used of a matched pair of horses harnessed together side by side. Yoke applies to the two animals hitched together under a yoke for drawing and pulling: a yoke of oxen.
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Example Sentences

Some people are adamant that chocolate does not pair well with wine, period, no how, no way.

Vancouver’s Jordie Benn and Quinn Hughes are the second-worst defensive pair in regard to shot quality allowed.

“One pair of dry socks lives in my sleeping bag,” Oram says.

With the pair of games next week, Maryland will be on track to finish the season with 20 conference games as planned, despite the schedule disruptions the Big Ten has navigated this season because of the pandemic.

The second experiment, still using MTurk, added a pair of wrinkles.

Oh, and the first press image they released was a pair of black dudes in tracksuits as a troll of sorts to NME.

It will still carry a pair of Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM long-range air-to-air missiles and a pair of bombs.

Gurley was gunned down on Nov. 20, when a pair of cops was patrolling the rough housing project.

One of them had not been given time to get dressed; he was perp-walked wearing only a pair of boxers.

They waved down a pair of responding cops who followed the alleged cop killer into the subway.

He stood, with the air of a hero, both arms extended towards the amazed pair of lovers.

Under the long lashes of low lids a pair of eyes black and insolent set off the haughty lines of her scarlet lips.

Here the pair reached the "Dun Cow" and retired to their respective quarters.

Since words have different meanings, we may sometimes find that a pair of words exemplify all three Laws, as plough and sword.

The opposite of these two methods of rote learning is my method, which injects an active process between each pair of words.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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