Definition of pair noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//peə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//per//
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    two things the same
  1. 1  [countable] two things of the same type, especially when they are used or worn together a pair of gloves/shoes/earrings, etc. a huge pair of eyes The vase is one of a matching pair. a pair of aces/kings (= two playing cards that have the same value)
  2. two parts joined
  3. 2  [countable] an object consisting of two parts that are joined together a pair of trousers/pants/jeans, etc. a pair of glasses/binoculars/scissors, etc.
  4. A plural verb is sometimes used with pair in the singular in senses 1 and 2. In informal North American Englishsome people use pair as a plural form:three pair of shoes. This is not considered correct in written English.
    two people
  5. 3  [countable + singular or plural verb] two people who are doing something together or who have a particular relationship Get pairs of students to act out the dialogue in front of the class. Get the students to do the exercise as pair work(= two students work together). (informal) I've had enough of the pair of you! In British Englisha plural verb is usually usedA pair of children were kicking a ball about.The pair are planning a trip to India together.
  6. two animals/birds
  7. 4[countable + singular or plural verb] two animals or birds of the same type that are breeding together a breeding pair a pair of swans pair bonding (= the process of animals forming a pair for breeding)
  8. two horses
  9. 5[countable] two horses working together to pull a carriage a carriage and pair
  10. see also au pair
    Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French paire, from Latin paria ‘equal things’, neuter plural of par ‘equal’. Formerly phrases such as a pair of gloves were expressed without of, as in a pair gloves (compare with German ein Paar Handschuhe).Extra examples I thought they would make a good pair so I arranged for them to meet. The pair were matched for age. The students worked in pairs. These candles only come in pairs. They make an odd pair. This sculpture was originally one of a pair owned by the King of France. a clean pair of socks a matching pair of vases a pair of swans nesting by the riverIdioms  in groups of two objects or people Students worked in pairs on the project.
    I’ve only got one pair of hands
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    (informal) used to say that you are too busy to do anything else
    (informal) a person who can do, or is doing, a job We need an extra pair of hands if we're going to finish on time. Colleagues regard him as a safe pair of hands (= somebody who can be relied on to do a job well). (especially British English) a person that you can trust to do a job well
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pair