Pair Pair (p[^a]r), n. [F. paire, LL. paria, L. paria, pl. of par pair, fr. par, adj., equal. Cf. {Apparel}, {Par} equality, {Peer} an equal.] [1913 Webster] 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.

Note: [Now mostly or quite disused.] [1913 Webster]

Two crowns in my pocket, two pair of cards. --Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

3. Two of a sort; a span; a yoke; a couple; a brace; as, a pair of horses; a pair of oxen. [1913 Webster]

4. A married couple; a man and wife. ``A happy pair.'' --Dryden. ``The hapless pair.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

5. A single thing, composed of two pieces fitted to each other and used together; as, a pair of scissors; a pair of pants; a pair of tongs; a pair of bellows. [1913 Webster]

6. Two members of opposite parties or opinion, as in a parliamentary body, who mutually agree not to vote on a given question (in order, for example, to allow the members to be absent during the vote without affecting the outcome of the vote), or on issues of a party nature during a specified time; as, there were two pairs on the final vote. [Parliamentary Cant]

Note: A member who is thus paired with one who would have voted oppositely is said to be paired for or paired against a measure, depending on the member's position. [1913 Webster +PJC]

7. (Kinematics) In a mechanism, two elements, or bodies, which are so applied to each other as to mutually constrain relative motion. [1913 Webster]

Note: 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}. [1913 Webster]

{Pair royal} (pl. {Pairs Royal}) three things of a sort; -- used especially of playing cards in some games, as cribbage; as three kings, three ``eight spots'' etc. Four of a kind are called a double pair royal. ``Something in his face gave me as much pleasure as a pair royal of naturals in my own hand.'' --Goldsmith. ``That great pair royal of adamantine sisters [the Fates].'' --Quarles. [Written corruptly {parial} and {prial}.] [1913 Webster]

Syn: {Pair}, {Flight}, {Set}.

Usage: 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.'' [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prial — Pri al, n. A corruption of pair royal. See under {Pair}, n. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prial — Mawdesley Glossary a set of three at cards. A breeding prial, a cock and two hens …   English dialects glossary

  • prial — ˈprīəl noun ( s) Etymology: by alteration chiefly dialect : pair royal * * * prial dial. f. pair royal …   Useful english dictionary

  • prial — [ prʌɪəl] noun (in card games) a set of three cards of the same denomination. Origin C19: alt. of pair royal …   English new terms dictionary

  • prial — pri·al …   English syllables

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