noun, plural pairs, pair.
- 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.
- the arrangement thus made.
- two playing cards of the same denomination without regard to suit or color.
- pairs, two card players who are matched together against different contestants.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- painter's colic,
- pair annihilation,
- pair bond,
- pair of compasses,
- pair off,
- pair production
Origin of pair1
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. See also collective noun, couple.
Examples from the Web for pair
It will still carry a pair of Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM long-range air-to-air missiles and a pair of bombs.New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019|Dave Majumdar|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Gurley was gunned down on Nov. 20, when a pair of cops was patrolling the rough housing project.Protesters Demand Justice For Gurley As Gap Grows Between Cops and NYC|M.L. Nestel|December 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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.Alleged Cop Killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley Had a Death Wish|M.L. Nestel|December 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST
For Big Eyes, you commissioned a pair of songs by Lana Del Rey.Tim Burton Talks ‘Big Eyes,’ His Taste For the Macabre, and the ‘Beetlejuice’ Sequel|Marlow Stern|December 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
His silken yellow hair fell in heavy curls on a pair of the broadest shoulders in the dale.Erling the Bold|R.M. Ballantyne
Morey had been scanning the horizon with a pair of powerful binoculars.Islands of Space|John W Campbell
Twinkling, shining, expanding, the stars grew into a pair of eyes in the darkness.Camps and Trails|Henry Abbott
Arrived at this point, he tried to draw the skirts of his dressing-gown over a pair of angular knees encased in threadbare felt.Cousin Pons|Honore de Balzac
Another represented the Atkinson barouche, with its pair of horses, coachman and groom.Lafcadio Hearn|Nina H. Kennard
noun plural pairs or functioning as singular or plural pair
- two opposed members who both agree not to vote on a specified motion or for a specific period of time
- the agreement so made
- a set with two members
- an ordered set with two members
Word Origin for pair
mid-13c., "two of a kind coupled in use," from Old French paire "pair, couple," and directly from Medieval Latin paria "equals," neuter plural of Latin par (genitive paris) "a pair, counterpart, equal," noun use of par (adj.) "equal, equal-sized, well-matched" (see par (n.)). Originally of things. Of persons from late 14c. Meaning "a woman's breasts" is attested from 1922. Pair bond (v.) is first attested 1940, in reference to birds mating.
"to come together with another; be mated or married" (intransitive), also "to make a pair by matching" (transitive), c.1600, from pair (n.). These senses now often are distinguished by pair off (c.1803) for the former and pair up (1908) for the latter. Related: Paired; pairing.
In addition to the idiom beginning with pair
- pair off
- show one's (a clean pair of) heels