pair / pe(ə)r/ • n. a set of two things used together or regarded as a unit: a pair of gloves. ∎ an article or object consisting of two joined or corresponding parts not used separately: a pair of jeans. ∎ two playing cards of the same denomination: I have a pair of jacks. ∎ two people related in some way or considered together: a company run by a pair of brothers every naughty thing the pair of them did made their faces look worse students work alone or in pairs. ∎ the second member of a pair in relation to the first: each course member tries to persuade his pair of the merits of his model. ∎ a mated couple of animals: nine breeding pairs of birds. ∎ two horses harnessed side by side. ∎ either or both of two members of a legislative assembly on opposite sides who absent themselves from voting by mutual arrangement, leaving the relative position of the parties unaffected. • v. [tr.] (often be paired) join or connect to form a pair: a cardigan paired with a matching skirt. ∎ [intr.] (of animals) mate: they bought a rooster to pair with the hen. ∎ [intr.] (pair off/up) form a couple: Rachel has paired up with Tommy. ∎ give (a member of a legislative assembly) another member as a pair, to allow both to absent themselves from a vote without affecting the result: an absent member on one side is to be paired with an absentee on the other. PHRASES: pair of hands a person seen in terms of their participation in a task: we can always do with an extra pair of hands.DERIVATIVES: pair·wise / -ˌwīz/ adj. & adv.
two things, persons, or animals.
Examples : pair of open lips, 1647; of mules (about thirty, for carrying tin); of oars (pair of rowers), 1598; of organs (music), 1493; of playing cards, 1530; of spurs, 1375; of stairs (a flight), 1530; of tinminers (ten men).
Hence vb. XVII.