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Related to pair: au pair


two things that are matched for use together: a pair of socks; a married, engaged, or dating couple; two mated animals; a pair of horses
Not to be confused with:
pare – to cut off the outer coating, layer, or part of: pare an apple
pear – an edible fruit; the tree itself: partridge in a pear tree
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


n. pl. pair or pairs
1. Two corresponding persons or items, similar in form or function and matched or associated: a pair of shoes.
2. One object composed of two joined, similar parts that are dependent upon each other: a pair of pliers.
a. Two persons who are married, engaged, or dating.
b. Two persons who have something in common and are considered together: a pair of hunters.
c. Two mated animals.
d. Two animals joined together in work.
4. Games Two playing cards of the same denomination.
5. Two members of a deliberative body with opposing opinions on a given issue who agree to abstain from voting on the issue, thereby offsetting each other.
6. Chemistry An electron pair.
v. paired, pair·ing, pairs
1. To arrange in sets of two; couple: The golfers are paired in twosomes for this round of play.
2. To combine or join (one person or thing) with another to form a pair: a director pairing his favorite actor with an unknown; a salad that is paired with a fine dressing.
1. To form pairs or a pair: The people on the dance floor paired up.
2. To join with another in love or mating.

[Middle English, from Old French paire, from Latin paria, equals, pl. of pār, a pair, from pār, equal; see perə- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The noun pair can be followed by a singular or plural verb. The singular is always used when pair denotes the set taken as a single entity: This pair of shoes is on sale. A plural verb is used when the members are considered as individuals: The pair are working more harmoniously now. After a number other than one, pair itself can be either singular or plural, but the plural is now more common: I bought six pairs (or pair) of shoes.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl pairs or (functioning as singular or plural)pair
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 horses; a pair of scoundrels.
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. (Zoology) a male and a female animal of the same species, esp such animals kept for breeding purposes
6. (Parliamentary Procedure) parliamentary procedure
a. two opposed members who both agree not to vote on a specified motion or for a specific period of time
b. the agreement so made
7. (Card Games) 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) cricket a pair of spectacles (the cricketing term). See spectacles2
10. (Rowing) rowing See pair-oar
11. dialect Brit and US a group or set of more than two
12. (Mathematics) logic maths
a. a set with two members
b. an ordered set with two members
13. (often foll by off) to arrange or fall into groups of twos
14. to group or be grouped in matching pairs: to pair socks.
15. to join or be joined in marriage; mate or couple
16. (Parliamentary Procedure) (when tr, usually passive) parliamentary procedure to form or cause to form a pair: 18 members were paired for the last vote.
[C13: from Old French paire, from Latin paria equal (things), from pār equal]
Usage: 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


a Scot word for poor
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



n., pl. pairs, pair,
v. n.
1. two identical, similar, or corresponding things that are matched for use together: a pair of gloves.
2. something consisting of or regarded as having two parts or pieces joined together: a pair of scissors.
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.
a. two members on opposite sides in a legislature who arrange to forgo voting on a given occasion.
b. the arrangement thus made.
8. two playing cards of the same denomination without regard to suit or color.
9. Mech. two parts or pieces so connected that they mutually constrain relative motion.
10. a set or combination of more than two objects forming a collective whole: a pair of beads.
11. to arrange or designate in pairs or groups of two.
12. to form into a pair, as by matching or joining: to pair socks.
13. (of animals) to cause to mate.
14. to separate into pairs or groups of two (usu. fol. by off): to pair off for a dance.
15. to form a pair or pairs.
16. to be a member of a pair.
17. to match with or resemble another.
18. to unite in close association with another, as in a business partnership, friendship, or marriage.
19. (of animals) to mate.
[1250–1300; Middle English paire < Old French < Latin pāria, pl. (taken as feminine singular in Vulgar Latin) of pār a pair. See par]
usage: When modified by a number, the plural of pair is more commonly pairs, esp. of persons: six pairs of masked dancers in the procession. The unmarked plural pair is used mainly in reference to inanimate objects or nonhumans: four pair (or pairs) of loafers; two pair (or pairs) of oxen. See also collective noun, couple.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


 two things, persons, or animals.
Examples: pair of open lips, 1647; of mules (about thirty, for carrying tin); of oars (pair of rowers), 1598; of organs (music), 1493; of playing cards, 1530; of spurs, 1375; of stairs (a flight), 1530; of tinminers (ten men).
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'a pair of'

A pair of things are two things of the same size and shape that are used together, such as shoes.

Someone has dropped a pair of gloves.
He bought a pair of hiking boots.

When you use a pair of like this, you can use either a singular or a plural form of a verb.

He wore a pair of shoes that were given to him by his mother.
A pair of shoes was stolen.

You also use a pair of to refer to something that has two main parts of the same size and shape, such as trousers, glasses, or scissors.

She has a new pair of glasses.
Do you have a pair of scissors I could use?

When you use a pair of like this, you use a singular form of a verb.

Who does this pair of jeans belong to?
A good pair of binoculars is essential for watching birds.
2. 'a couple of'

In conversation and informal writing, you can refer to two people or things as a couple of people or things.

I asked a couple of friends to help me.
We played a couple of games of tennis.

You use a plural form of a verb with a couple of.

A couple of guys were standing by the car.
On the table were a couple of mobile phones.

Be Careful!
Don't use 'a couple of' in formal writing.

3. referring to two people as a 'couple'

A couple consists of two people who have a romantic or sexual relationship, for example a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend.

In Venice we met a South African couple.
Married couples will get tax benefits.

You usually use a plural form of a verb with couple.

A couple were sitting together on the bench.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012


Past participle: paired
Gerund: pairing

I pair
you pair
he/she/it pairs
we pair
you pair
they pair
I paired
you paired
he/she/it paired
we paired
you paired
they paired
Present Continuous
I am pairing
you are pairing
he/she/it is pairing
we are pairing
you are pairing
they are pairing
Present Perfect
I have paired
you have paired
he/she/it has paired
we have paired
you have paired
they have paired
Past Continuous
I was pairing
you were pairing
he/she/it was pairing
we were pairing
you were pairing
they were pairing
Past Perfect
I had paired
you had paired
he/she/it had paired
we had paired
you had paired
they had paired
I will pair
you will pair
he/she/it will pair
we will pair
you will pair
they will pair
Future Perfect
I will have paired
you will have paired
he/she/it will have paired
we will have paired
you will have paired
they will have paired
Future Continuous
I will be pairing
you will be pairing
he/she/it will be pairing
we will be pairing
you will be pairing
they will be pairing
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been pairing
you have been pairing
he/she/it has been pairing
we have been pairing
you have been pairing
they have been pairing
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been pairing
you will have been pairing
he/she/it will have been pairing
we will have been pairing
you will have been pairing
they will have been pairing
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been pairing
you had been pairing
he/she/it had been pairing
we had been pairing
you had been pairing
they had been pairing
I would pair
you would pair
he/she/it would pair
we would pair
you would pair
they would pair
Past Conditional
I would have paired
you would have paired
he/she/it would have paired
we would have paired
you would have paired
they would have paired
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.pair - a set of two similar things considered as a unitpair - a set of two similar things considered as a unit
Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Tweedledum and Tweedledee - any two people who are hard to tell apart
set - a group of things of the same kind that belong together and are so used; "a set of books"; "a set of golf clubs"; "a set of teeth"
2.pair - two items of the same kindpair - two items of the same kind    
fellow, mate - one of a pair; "he lost the mate to his shoe"; "one eye was blue but its fellow was brown"
2, II, two, deuce - the cardinal number that is the sum of one and one or a numeral representing this number
doubleton - (bridge) a pair of playing cards that are the only cards in their suit in the hand dealt to a player
3.pair - two people considered as a unit
assemblage, gathering - a group of persons together in one place
couple, twosome, duet, duo - a pair who associate with one another; "the engaged couple"; "an inseparable twosome"
yoke - a pair of draft animals joined by a yoke; "pulled by a yoke of oxen"
4.pair - a poker hand with 2 cards of the same value
poker hand - the 5 cards held in a game of poker
Verb1.pair - form a pair or pairs; "The two old friends paired off"
unite, unify - act in concert or unite in a common purpose or belief
2.pair - bring two objects, ideas, or people together; "This fact is coupled to the other one"; "Matchmaker, can you match my daughter with a nice young man?"; "The student was paired with a partner for collaboration on the project"
match - give or join in marriage
mismate - provide with an unsuitable mate
mismatch - match badly; match two objects or people that do not go together
bring together, join - cause to become joined or linked; "join these two parts so that they fit together"
3.pair - occur in pairs
geminate, pair - arrange in pairs; "Pair these numbers"
occur - to be found to exist; "sexism occurs in many workplaces"; "precious stones occur in a large area in Brazil"
4.pair - arrange in pairs; "Pair these numbers"
arrange, set up - put into a proper or systematic order; "arrange the books on the shelves in chronological order"
geminate, pair - occur in pairs
5.pair - engage in sexual intercourse; "Birds mate in the Spring"
nick - mate successfully; of livestock
conjoin, join - make contact or come together; "The two roads join here"
do it, get it on, get laid, have a go at it, have intercourse, have it away, have it off, be intimate, lie with, roll in the hay, screw, sleep together, sleep with, hump, jazz, love, bed, bang, make out, know - have sexual intercourse with; "This student sleeps with everyone in her dorm"; "Adam knew Eve"; "Were you ever intimate with this man?"
tread - mate with; "male birds tread the females"
service, serve - mate with; "male animals serve the females for breeding purposes"
deflower, ruin - deprive of virginity; "This dirty old man deflowered several young girls in the village"
mount, ride - copulate with; "The bull was riding the cow"
breed, cover - copulate with a female, used especially of horses; "The horse covers the mare"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


2. couple, brace, duo, twosome A pair of teenage boys were arrested.
1. team, match (up), join, couple, marry, wed, twin, put together, bracket, yoke, pair off Each trainee is paired with an experienced worker.
pair off or up get together, unite, team up, link up, join up, form a couple, make a twosome We paired up to dance. She was trying to pair me off with her brother.
Usage: 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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. Two items of the same kind together:
2. Two persons united, as by marriage:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
زَوَجٌزَوْجزَوْج مِنزَوْج، إثْنان، زَوْجانيُرَتِّبُ زَوْجا
paren sakset par bukser
parpar, samstæîapar; stykkipara
한 쌍
pārissalikt pārī
jednyutvoriť pár


A. N
1. (= set) [of gloves, shoes, socks, etc] → par m
these socks are not a pairestos calcetines no son del mismo par
a pair of binocularsunos prismáticos
a pair of glasses or spectaclesunas gafas, unos anteojos
we need another pair of handsnecesitamos otro par de manos
I've only got one pair of handssólo tengo dos manos
a pair of pyjamasun pijama
a pair of scissorsunas tijeras, un par de tijeras
six pairs of scissorsseis tijeras
a pair of trousersun pantalón, unos pantalones, un par de pantalones
2. (= group of 2 things) → pareja f
a pair of acesuna pareja de ases
to arrange in pairs [+ glasses, chairs] → colocar de dos en dos; [+ related words, pictures] → colocar en parejas
see also heel 1
3. [of people] (= group of 2) → par m; (= couple) → pareja f
a pair of teenage boys were smokingun par de quincañeros estaban fumando
a pair of identical twinsuna pareja de gemelos
get out of my sight, the pair of you!¡fuera de mi vista, los dos!
the happy pairla feliz pareja, los novios
to do sth in pairshacer algo en parejas or de dos en dos
those two make a right pair!¡vaya par!, ¡vaya pareja!
they make an unlikely pairforman una insólita pareja, hacen or forman una extraña pareja
4. [of animals, birds] → pareja f
a carriage and pairun carruaje con dos caballos, un landó con dos caballos
5. (= counterpart)
5.1. (gen) → pareja f
can I try on the pair to this please?¿puedo probarme la pareja, por favor?
5.2. (Brit) (Parl) uno de los dos miembros de partidos opuestos que se ponen de acuerdo para ausentarse de una votación y, de esa forma, anularse mutuamente
6. (Sport) pairsdobles mpl
pairs skatingpatinaje m en parejas
1. (Zool) → aparear
2. (= put together) [+ socks, gloves] → emparejar
long skirts paired with knitted jacketsfaldas fpl largas a juego or haciendo juego con rebecas de punto
ginger biscuits are delicious paired with glasses of lemonadelas galletas de jengibre están buenísimas acompañadas de vasos de limonada
to pair sb with sb: trainees will be paired with experienced managersa los aprendices se les pondrá formando pareja con gerentes con experiencia
I was paired with Henry in the general knowledge competitionme pusieron formando pareja con or de compañero de Henry en el concurso de cultura general
1. (gen) → formar pareja(s) (with con) when a Y chromosome pairs with an X chromosomecuando el cromosoma Y forma pareja con el cromosoma X
beer pairs well with many New Zealand dishesla cerveza acompaña bien a muchos platos de Nueva Zelanda
2. (Zool) → aparearse (with con) → formar pareja(s) (with con)
D. CPD pair bonding Nunión f de pareja, emparejamiento m
pair off
1. (as couple) → emparejar
everyone was paired offtodo el mundo estaba emparejado or tenía pareja
they are always trying to pair her offsiempre están intentando buscarle pareja
2. (= group in twos) → agrupar por parejas
people are paired off according to their level of competencese agrupa a las personas por parejas de acuerdo con su nivel de aptitud
1. (as a couple, team) → formar pareja(s)
2. (Zool) → aparearse, formar pareja
pair up
A. VI + ADVformar pareja(s)
pair up with the person next to youforme pareja con la persona de al lado
B. VT + ADV [+ socks, shoes, gloves] → emparejar; [+ people] → poner formando pareja
in the final I was paired up with a French teacherme pusieron formando pareja con un profesor de francés para la final
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈpɛər] n
[shoes, gloves, socks, earrings] → paire f
a pair of shoes → une paire de chaussures
a pair of socks → une paire de chaussettes
a pair of earrings → une paire de boucles d'oreilles
a pair of scissors → une paire de ciseaux
a pair of trousers → un pantalon
a pair of jeans → un jean
a nice pair of legs
What a nice pair of legs! → Quelles jolies jambes!
an extra pair of hands
She was glad of an extra pair of hands → Elle était contente de disposer d'une paire de bras supplémentaires.
to be a safe pair of hands (British) (= reliable person) → être quelqu'un de sûr, être une personne sûre
He is seen as a safe pair of hands → On le considère comme quelqu'un de sûr.
(= two people) → paire f (= couple) → couple m
in pairs → à deux, par deux
We work in pairs → Nous travaillons à deux., Nous travaillons par deux.
In some neighbourhoods the policemen walk around in pairs → Dans certains quartiers, les policiers font leur ronde à deux., Dans certains quartiers, les policiers font leur ronde par deux.
pair off
vi (gen)se mettre par deux; (romantically) to pair off with sb → se mettre avec qn
vt sep (= put in twos) → mettre par deux; (romantically)apparier
pair up
vi [team up] → faire équipe
to pair up with sb → faire équipe avec qn
vt sep (= put together) → mettre ensemble
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(of gloves, shoes, people)Paar nt; (of animals, cards)Pärchen nt; (hum sl: = breasts) → Vorbau m (inf), → Dinger pl (sl); these socks are not a pairdiese beiden Socken gehören nich zusammen; a pair of scissorseine Schere; six pairs of scissorssechs Scheren; a new pair (of trousers)eine neue (Hose); (of shoes)(ein Paar) neue; I’ve lost my scissors, could I borrow your pair?ich habe meine Schere verloren, kannst du mir deine leihen?; I’ve only got one pair of handsich habe auch nur zwei Hände; he has a useful pair of hands (boxer) → er ist ein guter Boxer; to be or have a safe pair of handszuverlässig sein; a huge pair of eyesein riesiges Augenpaar; she has a great pair of legssie hat tolle Beine (inf); in pairspaarweise; hunt, arrive, go outzu zweit; be seatedin Zweiergruppen; they’re a pair of rascalsdas sind vielleicht zwei Lausejungen; what a pair of fools we are!wir (beide) sind vielleicht dumm!; you’re a fine pair you are! (iro)ihr seid mir (vielleicht) ein sauberes Pärchen (iro)
pairs sing or pl the pairs (Skating) → Paarlauf m; (Rowing) → Zweier m; in the pairsim Paarlauf/Zweier
vtin Paaren or paarweise anordnen; I was paired with Bob for the next roundin der nächsten Runde musste ich mit Bob ein Paar bilden; to be paired against somebodygegen jdn spielen
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1. n (of gloves, shoes) → paio; (of people) → coppia
a pair of scissors/trousers → un paio di forbici/pantaloni
arranged in pairs → disposti/e a due a due
ordered pair (Math) → coppia ordinata
2. vtaccoppiare, appaiare
pair off
1. vt + advtrovar marito (or moglie) a
2. vi + adv to pair off (with sb)fare coppia (con qn)
pair up vi + adv to pair up (with sb)mettersi in coppia (con qn)
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(peə) noun
1. a set of two of the same thing which are (intended to be) used etc together. a pair of shoes/gloves.
2. a single thing made up of two parts. a pair of scissors; a pair of pants.
3. two people, animals etc, often one of either sex, who are thought of together for some reason. a pair of giant pandas; John and James are the guilty pair.
to make into a pair. She was paired with my brother in the tennis match.

pair is singular: That pair of trousers needs mending ; There is a pair of gloves on the table .
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


زَوَجٌ pár par Paar ζεύγος par pari paire par paio ひと組 한 쌍 paar par para par пара par คู่ çift đôi 一对
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. par, pareja.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
"They are an uncommonly handsome pair," he said, "and if they are as good as they look I am sure you need not wish for anything better; but I see you still hold that pet scheme of yours for worrying your horses and lessening their power."
It is a universal rule that each of a pair of opposites of this type has reference to that to which the particular 'positive' is natural.
There was once a shoemaker, who worked very hard and was very honest: but still he could not earn enough to live upon; and at last all he had in the world was gone, save just leather enough to make one pair of shoes.
After that they took his right hand, placed it on something, and told him to hold a pair of compasses to his left breast with the other hand and to repeat after someone who read aloud an oath of fidelity to the laws of the Order.
Here was a light-blue pair; there were some lavender, some all black and various shades of tan and gray.
Geppetto makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet, and sells his coat to buy him an A-B-C book
It was in the yard of one of these inns--of no less celebrated a one than the White Hart--that a man was busily employed in brushing the dirt off a pair of boots, early on the morning succeeding the events narrated in the last chapter.
Thus chance determined that all should be dull and grave around the bridal pair; nothing reflected, outwardly, the happiness that reigned within their hearts.
"My goodness me!" cried Monica, the smaller, the drier, and the more wizened of the pair. "What do you call that, Bertha?
One of the pair was Angel Clare, the other a tall budding creature--half girl, half woman--a spiritualized image of Tess, slighter than she, but with the same beautiful eyes--Clare's sister-in-law,
Gentlemen," continued the baroness, "among the ten horses in the stables of Baron Danglars, are two that belong exclusively to me -- a pair of the handsomest and most spirited creatures to be found in Paris.
Their yearly clothing consisted of two coarse linen shirts, one pair of linen trousers, like the shirts, one jacket, one pair of trousers for winter, made of coarse negro cloth, one pair of stockings, and one pair of shoes; the whole of which could not have cost more than seven dollars.