synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of fair in English

English Online Dictionary. What means fair‎? What does fair mean?



  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /fɛə/, /fɛː/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /fɛɚ/
  • (General Australian) IPA(key): /feː(ə)/
  • (General New Zealand) IPA(key): /fɪə/
  • Rhymes: -ɛə(ɹ)
  • Homophone: fare

Etymology 1

From Middle English fayr, feir, fager, from Old English fæġer (fair, lovely, beautiful; pleasant, agreeable; attractive), from Proto-Germanic *fagraz (suitable, fitting, nice), from Proto-Indo-European *peh₂ḱ- (to fasten, place). Cognate with Scots fayr, fare (fair), Danish feir, faver, fager (fair, pretty), Norwegian fager (fair, pretty), Swedish fager (fair, pretty), Icelandic fagur (beautiful, fair), Umbrian pacer (gracious, merciful, kind), Slovak pekný (good-looking, handsome, nice). See also peace.


fair (comparative fairer, superlative fairest)

  1. (literary or archaic) Beautiful, of a pleasing appearance, with a pure and fresh quality.
    • 1460-1500, The Towneley Playsː
      He is so fair, without lease, he seems full well to sit on this.
  2. Unblemished (figuratively or literally); clean and pure; innocent.
    • 1605, The Booke of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, London: Robert Barker, “The order for the administration of the Lords Supper, or holy Communion,”[1]
      The Table hauing at the Communion time a faire white linnen cloth vpon it, shall stand in the body of the Church, or in the Chancell, where Morning prayer and Euening prayer be appointed to be said.
    • 1665, Robert Hooke, Micrographia, London, Observation 21, “Of Moss, and several other small vegetative Substances,” p. 135,[2]
      [] I have observ’d, that putting fair Water (whether Rain-water or Pump-water, or May-dew, or Snow-water, it was almost all one) I have often observ’d, I say, that this Water would, with a little standing, tarnish and cover all about the sides of the Glass that lay under water, with a lovely green []
  3. Light in color, pale, particularly as regards skin tone but also referring to blond hair.
    • 1677, Matthew Hale, The Primitive Origination of Mankind, Considered and Examined According to the Light of Nature, page 200
      the northern people large and fair-complexioned
    • This new-comer was a man who in any company would have seemed striking. In complexion fair, and with blue or gray eyes, he was tall as any Viking, as broad in the shoulder.
  4. Just, equitable.
    • “[…] it is not fair of you to bring against mankind double weapons ! Dangerous enough you are as woman alone, without bringing to your aid those gifts of mind suited to problems which men have been accustomed to arrogate to themselves.”
  5. Adequate, reasonable, or decent.
  6. (nautical, of a wind) Favorable to a ship's course.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 563:
      I shipped with them and becoming friends, we set forth on our venture, in health and safety; and sailed with a fair wind, till we came to a city called Madínat-al-Sín; []
  7. Not overcast; cloudless; clear; pleasant; propitious; said of the sky, weather, or wind, etc.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Matthew Prior
      You wish fair winds may waft him over.
  8. Free from obstacles or hindrances; unobstructed; unencumbered; open; direct; said of a road, passage, etc.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir Walter Raleigh
      The caliphs obtained a mighty empire, which was in a fair way to have enlarged.
  9. (shipbuilding) Without sudden change of direction or curvature; smooth; flowing; said of the figure of a vessel, and of surfaces, water lines, and other lines.
  10. (baseball) Between the baselines.
  11. (rugby, of a catch) Taken direct from an opponent's foot, without the ball touching the ground or another player.
  12. (cricket, of a ball delivered by the bowler) Not a no-ball.


  • (beautiful): beautiful, pretty, lovely
  • (unblemished): pure, clean, neat
  • (light in color): pale
  • (just): honest, just, equitable

Derived terms



fair (plural fair)

  1. Something which is fair (in various senses of the adjective).
    When will we learn to distinguish between the fair and the foul?
  2. (obsolete) A woman, a member of the ‘fair sex’; also as a collective singular, women.
    • 1744, Georg Friedrich Händel, Hercules, act 2, scene 8
      Love and Hymen, hand in hand, / Come, restore the nuptial band! / And sincere delights prepare / To crown the hero and the fair.
    • Here Jones, having ordered a servant to show a room above stairs, was ascending, when the dishevelled fair, hastily following, was laid hold on by the master of the house, who cried, “Heyday, where is that beggar wench going? Stay below stairs, I desire you.”
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, III.24:
      If single, probably his plighted Fair / Has in his absence wedded some rich miser [...].
  3. (obsolete) Fairness, beauty.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  4. A fair woman; a sweetheart.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shenstone
      I have found out a gift for my fair.
  5. (obsolete) Good fortune; good luck.
    • c. 1590-92, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, Act V scene ii[3]:
      Now, fair befall thee, good Petruchio!


fair (third-person singular simple present fairs, present participle fairing, simple past and past participle faired)

  1. To smoothen or even a surface (especially a connection or junction on a surface).
  2. To bring into perfect alignment (especially about rivet holes when connecting structural members).
  3. To construct or design a structure whose primary function is to produce a smooth outline or reduce air drag or water resistance.
  4. (obsolete) To make fair or beautiful.
    • William Shakespeare, Sonnet 127:
      Fairing the foul with art’s false borrow’d face, []


  • (to reduce air drag or water resistance): to streamline

Derived terms

  • fair off
  • fair up
  • fairing



fair (comparative more fair or fairer, superlative most fair or fairest)

  1. clearly, openly, frankly, civilly, honestly, favorably, auspiciously, agreeably

Derived terms

  • bid fair
  • fair and square

Etymology 2

From Old French feire, from Latin fēriae.


fair (plural fairs)

  1. A community gathering to celebrate and exhibit local achievements.
  2. An event for public entertainment and trade, a market.
  3. An event for professionals in a trade to learn of new products and do business, a trade fair.
  4. A travelling amusement park (called a funfair in British English and a (travelling) carnival in US English).

Derived terms

  • fairgrounds
  • funfair



  • RIFA, fiar



From English fair, from Old English fæġer, from Proto-Germanic *fagraz, whence also Middle High German vager (splendid, wonderful).


  • IPA(key): /fɛːr/, [fɛːɐ̯], [fɛɐ̯]


fair (comparative fairer, superlative am fairsten)

  1. (especially sports) fair (just, honest, equitable, adequate)



  • anständig
  • ehrlich
  • gerecht
  • gleich
  • ausgeglichen
  • angemessen
  • sauber


  • unfair

Related terms

  • Fairness
  • Fairplay
  • Fair-Use-Doktrin

Further reading

  • fair in Duden online



  • IPA(key): [fˠaɾʲ]


fair (present analytic faireann, future analytic fairfidh, verbal noun faire, past participle fairthe)

  1. to watch



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