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)
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 pairwise
Historical Examples of pairwise
I omit 'time' as injurious to the symmetry of the language; for the words in the first two lines run, as will be seen, pairwise.
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