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pair Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a set of two similar things considered as a unit
  2. noun two items of the same kind
    twosome; span; distich; couple; duo; twain; yoke; couplet; duet; brace; dyad; duad.
  3. noun two people considered as a unit
  4. noun a poker hand with 2 cards of the same value
  5. verb form a pair or pairs
    pair off; couple; partner off.
    • The two old friends paired off
  6. verb bring two objects, ideas, or people together
    couple; mate; twin; match.
    • 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
  7. verb occur in pairs
  8. verb arrange in pairs
    • Pair these numbers
  9. verb engage in sexual intercourse
    couple; mate; copulate.
    • Birds mate in the Spring

Pair noun
F. paire, LL. paria, L. paria, pl. of par pair, fr. par, adj., equal. Cf. Apparel, Par equality, Peer an equal.
  1. A number of things resembling one another, or belonging together; a set; as, a pair or flight of stairs. "A pair of beads." Chaucer. Beau. & Fl. "Four pair of stairs." Macaulay. Now mostly or quite disused, except as to stairs.
    Two crowns in my pocket, two pair of cards. Beau. & Fl.
  2. Two things of a kind, similar in form, suited to each other, and intended to be used together; as, a pair of gloves or stockings; a pair of shoes.
  3. Two of a sort; a span; a yoke; a couple; a brace; as, a pair of horses; a pair of oxen.
  4. A married couple; a man and wife. "A happy pair." Dryden. "The hapless pair." Milton.
  5. A single thing, composed of two pieces fitted to each other and used together; as, a pair of scissors; a pair of tongs; a pair of bellows.
  6. Two members of opposite parties or opinion, as in a parliamentary body, who mutually agree not to vote on a given question, or on issues of a party nature during a specified time; as, there were two pairs on the final vote. Parliamentary Cant
  7. (Kinematics) In a mechanism, two elements, or bodies, which are so applied to each other as to mutually constrain relative motion. Pairs are named in accordance with the kind of motion they permit; thus, a journal and its bearing form a turning pair, a cylinder and its piston a sliding pair, a screw and its nut a twisting pair, etc. Any pair in which the constraining contact is along lines or at points only (as a cam and roller acting together), is designated a higher pair; any pair having constraining surfaces which fit each other (as a cylindrical pin and eye, a screw and its nut, etc.), is called a lower pair. Syn. -- Pair, Flight, Set. Originally, pair was not confined to two things, but was applied to any number of equal things (pares), that go together. Ben Jonson speaks of a pair (set) of chessmen; also, he and Lord Bacon speak of a pair (pack) of cards. A "pair of stairs" is still in popular use, as well as the later expression, "flight of stairs."
Pair intransitive verb
imperfect & past participle Paired ; present participle & verbal noun Pairing
  1. To be joined in paris; to couple; to mate, as for breeding.
  2. To suit; to fit, as a counterpart.
    My heart was made to fit and pair with thine. Rowe.
  3. Same as To pair off. See phrase below.
Pair transitive verb
  1. To unite in couples; to form a pair of; to bring together, as things which belong together, or which complement, or are adapted to one another.
    Glossy jet is paired with shining white. Pope.
  2. To engage (one's self) with another of opposite opinions not to vote on a particular question or class of questions. Parliamentary Cant
Pair transitive verb
See Impair.
  1. To impair. Obs. Spenser.

Webster 1913