Definition of au pair in English:

au pair

Syllabification: au pair
Pronunciation: /ˌō ˈpe(ə)r


  • A young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or child care in exchange for room and board.
    More example sentences
    • As more women have sought full-time careers, various alternative forms of domestic assistance have developed, consisting of armies of contract cleaners, childminders, nannies and au pairs.
    • In other cases, women answered advertisements by foreign tour operators or employment agencies looking for au pairs, models, housekeepers and waitresses.
    • Every woman boss depends on au pairs, nannies, cleaners, cooks and women who do the ironing.


late 19th century: from French, literally 'on equal terms'. The phrase was originally adjectival, describing an arrangement between two parties paid for by the exchange of mutual services; the noun usage dates from the 1960s.

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