pair


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Related to pair: au pair

extra pair of hands

Additional help or assistance provided by another person. I think we need to hire an extra pair of hands to help clean the house and mind the children.
See also: extra, hand, of, pair

grow a pair

vulgar slang To start acting in a strong, confident, and/or courageous manner, especially after having previously failed to do so. Though short for "grow a pair of testicles/balls" (discretion should be used because of this), the phrase can be said by or of either a male or female. Often used as an imperative. You need to grow a pair and ask your boss for a raise already! Janet, I know you're nervous about asking Tom out on a date, but just grow a pair and give it a shot!
See also: grow, pair

have a pair

vulgar slang To act or behave in a strong, confident, and/or courageous manner. Though short for "have a pair of testicles/balls" (discretion should be used because of this), the phrase can be said by or of either a male or female. Often used with an intensifier, such as "quite a pair" or "a big pair." Primarily heard in US. Crime is really bad in this town, so you've got to have a big pair to be a police officer around here. Wow, your sister must have quite a pair to stand up to her boss like that!
See also: have, pair

strap on a pair

vulgar slang A derogatory exhortation to start acting in a more masculine manner; that is, to be more direct, aggressive, courageous, self-confident, and other such characteristics that are stereotypically considered to be masculine attributes. ("Pair" here refers to testicles, but the phrase can be said of or by both men and women.) You're never going to get the boss's respect if you keep kowtowing to him like that. You need to strap on a pair and show him that you deserve to be taken seriously! Janet, I know you're nervous about asking Tom out on a date, but just strap on a pair and give it a shot!
See also: on, pair, strap

safe pair of hands

A trustworthy and competent person. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. That struggling company really needs a leader who is a safe pair of hands and can make some positive changes.
See also: hand, of, pair, safe

another pair of eyes

 and a fresh pair of eyes
Fig. another person to examine something closely in addition to anyone previously. As soon as we can get a fresh pair of eyes on this mansuscipt, we will find the last of the typos.
See also: another, eye, of, pair

*candidate for a pair of wings

Euph. someone who is likely to die; someone who is close to death. (Jocular. *Typically: be ~; look like ~.) Whenever Jane wants to cross the street, she just walks out into traffic without looking. She's a candidate for a pair of wings, I say. Tom: How's Bill doing? I heard he was sick. Jane: Not good, I'm afraid. He looks like a candidate for a pair of wings.
See also: candidate, of, pair, wing

look like a candidate for a pair of wings Go to a

candidate for a pair of wings.
See also: candidate, like, look, of, pair, wing

pair off

[for two people or other creatures] to form a couple or pair. All of them paired off and worked as teams to solve the puzzle. Everyone should pair off and discuss the issue for a while.
See also: off, pair

pair up (with someone)

to join with someone to make a pair. Sally decided to pair up with Jason for the dance contest. Sally and Jason paired up with each other.
See also: pair, up

show somebody a clean pair of heels

  (British)
to go faster than someone else in a race Butler showed them all a clean pair of heels as he raced for the finishing line.
See also: clean, heel, of, pair, show

have a [fine/good etc.] pair of lungs

  (humorous)
if you say that a baby has a good pair of lungs, you mean that they can cry very loudly Well she's got a fine pair of lungs, I'll say that for her!
See also: have, lung, of, pair

a safe pair of hands

  (British & Australian)
someone who you can trust to do an important job well without making mistakes He's what this troubled club needs, a good, solid manager, a safe pair of hands.
See also: hand, of, pair, safe

pair off

1. Put two persons together; also, become one of a couple, as in Jean mentally paired off her guests whenever she planned a party, or All the tennis players had to pair off for a round of doubles matches. [Late 1600s]
2. Also, pair up. Make a pair of, match, as in I always have trouble pairing up their socks. [Early 1900s]
See also: off, pair

show one's heels

Also, show a clean pair of heels. Run away, flee, as in He wanted to ask her out but she showed her heels before he had a chance, or As soon as the burglar alarm went off, the housebreaker showed a clean pair of heels. The backs of one's heels are exactly what is seen when one is running away, but the allusion of clean is a bit puzzling, unless it is meant in the colloquial sense of "thorough," as in a clean getaway. [First half of 1500s]
See also: heel, show

pair off

v.
1. To arrange some things or people in groups of two: The drama coach paired off the students to rehearse scenes. The organizer paired the partygoers off and sent them on a treasure hunt.
2. To form pairs: The dance students paired off and practiced waltzing.
See also: off, pair

pair up

v.
1. To arrange some things or people in groups of two: The gym teacher paired up the students and started a badminton tournament. The organizer paired the volunteers up.
2. To form pairs or a pair: The dance students paired up and practiced waltzing. My best friend and I paired up when our class chose locker partners.
See also: pair, up
References in classic literature ?
ii) Pairs of opposites which are contraries are not in any way interdependent, but are contrary the one to the other.
At that instant I was aware of a bushy black beard and a pair of piercing eyes turned upon us through the side window of the cab.
Fanny also lent her a pair of three-button gloves, which completed her content, and when Tom greeted her with an approving, "Here 's a sight for gods and men
When you look after three pairs of twins you naturally get a lot of experience.
Minnie May did not take kindly to the ipecac but Anne had not brought up three pairs of twins for nothing.
the Sheep said, as she took up another pair of needles.
The Marionette, as soon as his hunger was appeased, started to grumble and cry that he wanted a new pair of feet.
Maclaren, our hostess, thought nothing good enough for such a guest; and as Duncan Dhu (which was the name of our host) had a pair of pipes in his house, and was much of a lover of music, this time of my recovery was quite a festival, and we commonly turned night into day.
One of her gowns hung over the bed, another depending from a hook of the door; her bonnet obscured half the looking-glass, on which, too, lay the prettiest little pair of bronze boots; a French novel was on the table by the bedside, with a candle, not of wax.
The priest lighted two candles, wreathed with flowers, and holding them sideways so that the wax dropped slowly from them he turned, facing the bridal pair.
Just the same he's oodles better'n your bunch of hoodlums that no decent woman'd wipe her one pair of shoes on.
It was in the yard of one of these inns--of no less celebrated a one than the White Hart--that a man was busily employed in brushing the dirt off a pair of boots, early on the morning succeeding the events narrated in the last chapter.
She sat on a low stool at nearly a right angle with the two boys, watching first one and then the other; and Philip, looking off his book once toward the fire-place, caught the pair of questioning dark eyes fixed upon him.
Lest anybody should feel a curiosity to know how Kit was clad, it may be briefly remarked that he wore no livery, but was dressed in a coat of pepper-and-salt with waistcoat of canary colour, and nether garments of iron-grey; besides these glories, he shone in the lustre of a new pair of boots and an extremely stiff and shiny hat, which on being struck anywhere with the knuckles, sounded like a drum.
And there, in the focus of a million pairs of convergent eyes, the Ambitious Person sat him down between the sun and moon and murmured sadly to his own soul: