(plural pairs or pair)
Etymology: Middle English paire, from Anglo-French, from Latin paria equal things, from neuter plural of par equal
Date: 14th century
(1) two corresponding things designed for use together <a pair of shoes> (2) two corresponding bodily parts or members <a pair of hands> b. something made up of two corresponding pieces <a pair of trousers> 2. a. two similar or associated things: as (1) two mated animals (2) a couple in love, engaged, or married <were a devoted pair> (3) two playing cards of the same value or denomination and especially of the same rank (4) two horses harnessed side by side (5) two members of a deliberative body that agree not to vote on a specific issue during a time agreed on; also an agreement not to vote made by the two members b. a partnership especially of two players in a contest against another partnership 3. chiefly dialect a set or series of small objects (as beads) II. verb Date: 1606 transitive verb 1. a. to make a pair of — often used with off or up <paired off the animals> b. to cause to be a member of a pair c. to arrange a voting pair between 2. to arrange in pairs intransitive verb 1. to constitute a member of a pair <a sock that didn't pair> 2. a. to become associated with another — often used with off or up <paired up with an old friend> b. to become grouped or separated into pairs — often used with off <paired off for the next dance>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.