There are 3 main definitions of fair in English:


Syllabification: fair


1In accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate: the group has achieved fair and equal representation for all its members
More example sentences
  • It is impossible, with the best of wills to conduct free and fair elections under occupation with a war of attrition taking place between rebels and occupiers.
  • Everyone has the means to gain knowledge of the law, which in turn makes legal systems more fair.
  • They will give the judge a scrupulously fair trial.
just, equitable, honest, upright, honorable, trustworthy;
impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, nonpartisan, neutral, even-handed;
lawful, legal, legitimate
informal legit, on the level
1.1Just or appropriate in the circumstances: to be fair, this subject poses special problems
More example sentences
  • To be fair, Stork's reasoning has a certain justification.
  • To be fair, the reason for the outage is likely to have been something beyond their control.
  • I have generally found the vast majority to be fair and reasonable, and far from hostile.
1.2 archaic (Of a means or procedure) gentle; not violent.
1.3 Baseball (Of a batted ball) within the field of play marked by the first and third baselines.
More example sentences
  • The batter hits a fair ball over the fence but is injured so severely leaving the batter's box that he can't run around the bases.
  • If he had touched the ball in fair territory before it went foul, the play would have been ruled a fair ball.
  • But it looked pretty clearly as though the ball would have hit the pole anyway, making it a fair ball and thus a home run.
1.4 Baseball Pertaining to the fair part of the field: the ball was hit into fair territory
More example sentences
  • Pueblo first baseman Larry Stankey hit a ball that appeared to be leaving the park in fair territory when the lights went out.
  • The ball struck Bonds' glove in fair territory and fell to the ground.
  • First base coach Don Leppert trotted toward Rice and argued that the ball had hit the wall in fair territory.
2(Of hair or complexion) light; blond.
More example sentences
  • More procedures may be required for advanced baldness or for individuals with very dark hair and fair complexion.
  • The suspect is said to be in his 50s, has a light complexion and fair hair and weighs about 185 pounds.
  • She was pretty, with blonde hair and fair skin, but her eyes seemed distant, if worried.
blond/blonde, yellowish, golden, flaxen, light, light brown, ash blond
pale, light, light-colored, white, creamy
2.1(Of a person) having a light complexion or blond hair.
More example sentences
  • He was a skinny, fair boy with hair as light as sunshine and eyes as blue as the sky itself.
  • She was fair, had long hair and had all the makings of a performer.
  • Among them was a young princess, Lavena, the fair daughter of King Edward Longshanks.
3Considerable though not outstanding in size or amount: he did a fair bit of coaching
More example sentences
  • He is giving the matter a fair amount of considerable and is at that ‘in between’ situation at the moment.
  • I did it very quickly, though I'd given a fair amount of consideration to each award in the recent weeks.
  • Tracking down other dead notables often took a fair amount of detective work.
reasonable, passable, tolerable, satisfactory, acceptable, respectable, decent, all right, good enough, pretty good, not bad, average, middling
informal OK, so-so, ‘comme ci, comme ça’
3.1Moderately good though not outstandingly so: he believes he has a fair chance of success
More example sentences
  • That means the rich don't get obscenely wealthy and the poor have a fair chance of good health, reasonable housing and a decent education.
  • There's a fair chance they will have been air-freighted in from Africa or South America, at an unsustainable cost to the environment.
  • But since he's a very healthy man and is very young, the chances are fair to good, I would say.
4(Of weather) fine and dry.
More example sentences
  • You can forget all the cliches about fair weather and sunny days ahead for the founders of Intrallect.
  • Perhaps it's the fair weather and calm conditions which had undermined the Scottish contingent's tilt at the title.
  • If the weather is fair, she sits outside, often with her legs dangling over the precipice, the spyglass propped between her knees.
fine, dry, bright, clear, sunny, cloudless;
warm, balmy, clement, benign, pleasant
4.1(Of the wind) favorable: they set sail with a fair wind
More example sentences
  • Such a fresh start might just be the fair wind and favourable sea for which I seem to be waiting.
  • The fair wind shows the watchmen on the walls a black fleet coming up the river.
  • May a fair wind ever find you and ease the burdens of your day.
favorable, advantageous, benign;
on one's side, in one's favor
5 archaic Beautiful: attractive: the fairest of her daughters
More example sentences
  • It gave a beautiful song in its fair voice, but in the middle of its song, it suddenly stopped.
  • Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum of admiration and anxiety.
  • Elves were once known, even by humans, to be a fair and beautiful race of species.
5.1(Of words, a speech, or a promise) false, despite being initially attractive or pleasing; specious.
More example sentences
  • After a month of fair words Artois came away in April 1793 with a jewelled sword inscribed With God, for the King but no more tangible support.
  • Titania was stunned by the fair words that graced the paper, but she couldn't for the life of her figure out who wrote it.


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1Without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage: no one could say he played fair
More example sentences
  • I hate to put it that way, but in my book, you ought to go out there to play to win, but you ought to play fair, you have to play by the rules, and these are things you should learn as a kid.
  • With his trusty horse Trigger, Rogers played the straight-shooting good guy who always fought fair - instead of killing the bad guys, he would shoot the gun out of their hands - and always lived to sing about it.
  • With his trusty horse Trigger, Rogers played the straight-shooting good guy who always fought fair - instead of killing the bad guys, he would shoot the gun out of their hands - and always lived to sing about it.
2 [as submodifier] dialect To a high degree: she’ll be fair delighted to see you
More example sentences
  • I'm fair tuckered out with the excitement of it all.
  • As you may imagine she was fair delighted, and thought how pleased the King would be when he came home and found that his dearest wish had been fulfilled.


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[no object] dialect Back to top  
(Of the weather) become fine: looks like it’s fairing off some
More example sentences
  • John Bowes, Mayor of Kirkbymoorside, said: ‘The weather faired up and the parade and service were both excellent.’
  • The weather faired, and our general caused our great pinnace to be made ready, and to row along the coast,
  • Highland Council engineers responded to the disaster with alacrity and, as soon as the weather faired, had a team of divers on the scene to check that nothing dangerous to shipping lay beneath the water.


Old English fæger 'pleasing, attractive', of Germanic origin, related to Norwegian vakker, 'beautiful'.


all's fair in love and war

proverb In certain highly charged situations, any method of achieving your objective is justifiable.
More example sentences
  • ‘We're at the point now where all's fair in love and war, and politics is war,’ said Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia.
  • With reference to your heading for Brian Munn's letter ‘Unfair attack on hunting fraternity’ - all's fair in love and war.
  • You know, all's fair in love and war, as they say.

by fair means or foul

Using whatever means are necessary: they were determined to ensure victory for themselves, by fair means or foul
More example sentences
  • They are in competition with each other, trying to capture the ‘emerging markets' of developing nations by fair means or foul.
  • The script begins with the internal voice of Standish declaring: ‘I made up my mind there and then that I had to have her whether she was free or not, with or without her consent, by fair means or foul.’
  • The key question facing the country now is this: will the existing regime allow this process of democratisation to gather momentum, or will it seek to arrest its development and entrench itself in power by fair means or foul?

fair and square

Honestly and straightforwardly: we won the match fair and square
More example sentences
  • Of course I realised and I started telling everybody I lost the match fair and square, no excuses.
  • The last match I lost fair and square but I was a little disappointed with the first one
  • We won fair and square, and we're going to win fair and square again.
honestly, fairly, without cheating, without foul play, by the book;
lawfully, legally, legitimately
informal on the level, on the up and up

a fair deal

Equitable treatment.
More example sentences
  • He was a well known figure in the cattle trade, often travelling the length and breath of the country and he always ensured everybody got a fair deal.
  • If our society is committed to giving patients with rare diseases a fair deal, primary care trusts must make funds available for treatment.
  • If I am elected I will be pushing as hard as I can to get a fair deal for local people on local health issues.

fair dinkum

see dinkum.

fair enough

informal Used to admit that something is reasonable or acceptable: “I can’t come because I’m working late.” “Fair enough.”
More example sentences
  • Now that's fair enough, because a lot of people don't know enough about it to make the decision.
  • If there is a good reason to ban something then fair enough but that reasoning has to be applied to everything equally.
  • I'm still a bit mad, and that's fair enough, but I'm not as uptight, maybe, as I was before.


Slightly above average: she manages to capitalize on some fair-to-middling material
More example sentences
  • And bouncing up the stairs to his second-floor lair, Williamson seems awfully fit for a tipsy man of fair-to-middling age.
  • And if they do, I think there's a fair-to-middling chance that it will go to the Supreme Court, where it will be overturned.
  • It's a long and fascinating document, currently existing entirely within square brackets, that does a fair-to-middling job of convincing me that the world could be a better place if there were more cables running through it.

fair name

dated A good reputation.
More example sentences
  • Mrs Tearle, a former town mayor and ex-chairman of Braintree District Council, called it a slur on the fair name of Witham at a time when she and the council were trying to raise its profile.
  • They have disgraced the fair name of secularism.
  • Their conduct has been a blot on the fair name of the country.

the fair sex

(also the fairer sex)
dated or humorous Women.
More example sentences
  • In order to applaud the efforts of women film directors from the Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia and Hungary, this year's film festival has been dedicated to the fairer sex.
  • Of course, when I was a college-aged lad, I was under the misguided impression that dressing like a lumberjack and going months without a haircut was the secret to wooing the fairer sex.
  • The managing committee should have at least two members of the fairer sex, so bequeathed Lady R.C. Bristow, which norm is observed even today, after more than 70 years.

fair's fair

informal Used to request just treatment or assert that an arrangement is just: Fair’s fair—we were here first
More example sentences
  • And if he really does want a serious relationship, he'll find someone else eventually - which may be tough for you, but fair's fair: if you don't want him, let someone else have him.
  • Sitting under a tree with a bunch of women in Kenya, for instance, Maticka-Tyndale decided fair's fair, and let the local women ask her a few questions for a change.
  • Not because I'm greedy; fair's fair, and he certainly earns half of it.

for fair

US informal dated Completely and finally: then we’d be rid of him for fair
More example sentences
  • Henkels & McCoy has been in the high wire and hot wire business ever since 1935 and in 1938 we were in it for fair, though the 1938 job was foul enough for many of the people affected.
  • I seem to be putting my foot in it for fair," said the green marine, looking discouraged.

in a fair way to do something

dated Having nearly done something, and likely to achieve it: he is in a fair way to get well
More example sentences
  • According to The New York Times, Dringer had in less than a decade made customers of the local mill-owners and ‘claimed to be the most extensive junkdealer in the United States, and was in a fair way to control the market.’
  • Like so many European churches, St Jacob's is in a fair way to overwhelm me.

it's a fair cop

British An admission that the speaker has been caught doing wrong and deserves punishment.
More example sentences
  • He was never going to say ‘Alright, it's a fair cop.’
  • I am not going to say it's a fair cop because my parking space was pinched!
  • Now terminally-ill, Mr Bacon is looking at spending his declining years behind bars, but he still says it's a fair cop.

no fair

North American informal Unfair (often used in or as a petulant protestation): no fair—we’re the only kids in the whole school who don’t get to watch TV on school nights
More example sentences
  • Now, it's no fair to say you're no Ted Koppel, but the interview sort of moved on.
  • Please note that it is no fair to throw banana peels in hopes of playing the rescuing hero.
  • Nancy called, ‘Hey, no fair! ‘and tried to track him with the pistol while at the same time regaining her balance.’



More example sentences
  • A fairish number of people have written or commented on this post to the effect that it's not true that the association is making money unfairly off the backs of young athletes; they get a very valuable education out of the thing.
  • I'm an MBA with a fairish background in the subject.
  • To his call of ‘Kharkov! ‘, on the other hand, a fairish, goodlooking man responded instead of the one he had meant.’


More example sentences
  • Every person has a responsibility to behave with integrity, honesty and fairness.
  • The principles of freedom, fairness and trust should have practical application.
  • He exudes a quiet authority and the players respect his knowledge and fairness.

Definition of fair in:

There are 3 main definitions of fair in English:


Syllabification: fair


1A gathering of stalls and amusements for public entertainment.
More example sentences
  • The streets and bars were packed as visitors wandered amongst the stalls, fairs and entertainers on the streets of Killorglin.
  • Organisers of fêtes, horse fairs and similar public functions sometimes set up temporary quoits pitches in this way for decades and such games are often referred to as Sward Quoits.
  • In villages, festivals and fairs are occasions for entertainment and relaxation.
carnival, festival, exhibition;
1.1 (also agricultural fair) North American A competitive exhibition of livestock, agricultural products, and household skills held annually by a town, county, or state and also featuring entertainment and educational displays.
More example sentences
  • Why, I remember when my own won the pig competition in the county fair, it made my heart bleat with pride and joy.
  • People paid me big bucks to come and train their kids how to properly show livestock at fairs and competitions.
  • It's the Rex breed of rabbit that I drool over every September, in the Small Animal Barn of our county fair.
1.2A periodic gathering for the sale of goods.
More example sentences
  • That said, there are quicker ways to enter the collectable toy market, namely through auctions, toy fairs and car-boot sales.
  • Personal snapshots from abandoned family albums turn up in all kinds of places, ‘from postcard fairs, to jumble sales, and dingy halls beside arterial roads,’ as he puts it.
  • The business is so well-known now in Christchurch that the supply of books brought in keeps him very busy, without his going to seek them at fairs or garage sales.
market, bazaar, flea market, exchange, sale
dated emporium
1.3An exhibition to promote particular products: the Contemporary Art Fair
More example sentences
  • Implement manufacturers, grocers, lawyers, and railroad executives all had a stake in the health of the rural economy and worked tirelessly to promote fairs.
  • Local merchants assisted in promoting the fashion fair in their stores, providing clothing for the models, and door prizes.
  • The models cost a tidy packet but the organisation finds them easy to display at trade fairs and expos, here and overseas.


Middle English (in the sense 'periodic gathering for the sale of goods'): from Old French feire, from late Latin feria, singular of Latin feriae 'holy days' (on which such fairs were often held).

Definition of fair in:

There are 3 main definitions of fair in English:


Syllabification: fair


[with object] (usually as adjective faired)
Streamline (a vehicle, boat, or aircraft) by adding fairings.
More example sentences
  • The hull is then faired and painted in the traditional black for the Galway hookers.
  • Torpedo tubes are faired into either side of the bow, complete with live torpedoes.


Old English in the senses 'beautify' and 'appear or become clean' The current sense dates from the mid 19th century.

Definition of fair in: