American English

Definition of fair adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (fairer, fairest)
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  1. 1acceptable and appropriate in a particular situation a fair deal/price/question The punishment was very fair. In the end, a draw was a fair result. I'm giving you fair warning, I'm not always this generous. fair to somebody (to do something) Was it really fair to him to ask him to do all the work? fair to do something It's only fair to add that they were not told about the problem until the last minute. I think it is fair to say that they are pleased with the latest offer. fair that… It seems only fair that they give us something in return. To be fair, she behaved better than we expected. opposite unfair
  2. treating people equally
  3. 2treating everyone equally and according to the rules or law She has always been scrupulously fair. demands for a fairer distribution of wealth fair (to somebody) We have to be fair to both players. to receive a fair trial free and fair elections It's not fair!He always gets more than me. The new tax is fairer than the old system. They are fair and decent employers. his vision of a fairer, kinder society opposite unfair
  4. fairly large
  5. 3[only before noun] fairly large in number, size, or amount A fair number of people came along. a fair-sized town We've still got a fair amount (= some more things) to do. My birthday's still a fair way off (= it's still a long time until my birthday).
  6. fairly good
  7. 4fairly good There's a fair chance that we might win this time. It's a fair bet that they won't turn up. I have a fair idea of what happened. His knowledge of French is only fair.
  8. hair/skin
  9. 5pale in color a fair complexion She has long, fair hair. All her children are fair (= they all have pale hair or skin). opposite dark
  10. weather
  11. 6bright and not raining a fair and breezy day
  12. 7(literary) (of winds) not too strong and blowing in the right direction They set sail with the first fair wind.
  13. beautiful
  14. 8(literary or old use) beautiful a fair maiden
  15. Idioms
    all's fair in love and war (saying)
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    in some situations any type of behavior is acceptable to get what you want
    be fair! (informal)
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    used to tell someone to be reasonable in their judgment of someone or something Be fair! She didn't know you were coming.
    by fair means or foul
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    using dishonest methods if honest ones do not work She's determined to win, by fair means or foul.
    fair enough (informal)
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    used to say that an idea or a suggestion seems reasonable “We'll meet at 8.” “Fair enough.” If you don't want to come, fair enough, but let Bill know.
    fair's fair (informal)
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    used, especially as an exclamation, to say that you think that an action, a decision, etc. is acceptable and appropriate because it means that everyone will be treated fairly Fair's fair—you can't expect them to cancel everything just because you can't make it.
    (give somebody/get) a fair shake (informal)
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    (to give somebody/get) fair treatment that gives you the same chance as someone else Are minority students getting a fair shake at college?
    (more than) your fair share of something
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    (more than) an amount of something that is considered to be reasonable or acceptable He has more than his fair share of problems. I've had my fair share of success in the past.
    fair to middling (old-fashioned)
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    not particularly good or bad “How are you feeling today?” “Oh, fair to middling.”
    (give somebody) a fair trial/hearing
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    (to allow someone) the opportunity to give their opinion of something before deciding if they have done something wrong, often in court I'll make sure that you get a fair trial.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: fair