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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

Another person to examine or critique something. I need another pair of eyes to look at my term paper because I always make a lot of spelling mistakes. I think we should get another pair of eyes on this ad campaign before we finalize it.
See also: another, eye, of, pair

a candidate for a pair of wings

euphemism One who will die soon. This phrase can refer to one who is literally about to die or to one who behaves recklessly. His prognosis isn't good. It sounds like he's a candidate for a pair of wings at this point. If you don't wear your helmet at the skate park, you're a candidate for a pair of wings.
See also: candidate, of, pair, wing

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 ?
Yet in the case of those contraries which have an intermediate we found that it was never necessary that either the one or the other should be present in every appropriate subject, but only that in certain subjects one of the pair should be present, and that in a determinate sense.
This, to the busy pair, was the happiest period of their lives.
At that moment I caught another glimpse from the corner of my eye of the single pair of eyes at my back making a sudden rush upon me.
cried the Sheep, as she took up another pair of needles.
Give us two weeks more, Miss Carr--only two weeks to wash up our work and realize--and we'll give you a pair of 2.
There was a steel head-piece, a cuirass, a gorget and greaves, with a pair of gauntlets and a sword hanging beneath; all, and especially the helmet and breastplate, so highly burnished as to glow with white radiance, and scatter an illumination everywhere about upon the floor.
When he had looked long, the pair took their stand back to back in the centre of the kraal, and people saw that Umslopogaas held the axe in a new fashion, its curved blade being inwards towards his breast, and the hollow point turned towards the foe.
Rabbit was a widow; she earned her living by knitting rabbit-wool mittens and muffetees (I once bought a pair at a bazaar).
Danglars and Caderousse set off upon their errand at full speed; but ere they had gone many steps they perceived a group advancing towards them, composed of the betrothed pair, a party of young girls in attendance on the bride, by whose side walked Dantes' father; the whole brought up by Fernand, whose lips wore their usual sinister smile.
Of course he may break out now and then(I am not now referring only to drunkenness), and (for example) buy himself a new pair of shoes, and take pleasure in seeing his feet looking well and smartly shod.
They had come thither, not as friends nor partners in the enterprise, but each, save one youthful pair, impelled by his own selfish and solitary longing for this wondrous gem.
Her name was Hannah, and her husband's Matthew; two homely names, yet well enough adapted to the simple pair, who seemed strangely out of place among the whimsical fraternity whose wits had been set agog by the Great Carbuncle.
Blanche and her mother; and it had occurred to me that he must have had some previous acquaintance with the pair.
Mortimer looked at Holmes with an air of professional interest, and Sir Henry Baskerville turned a pair of puzzled dark eyes upon me.
One of the pair was Angel Clare, the other a tall budding creature--half girl, half woman--a spiritualized image of Tess, slighter than she, but with the same beautiful eyes--Clare's sister-in-law,