There are 3 main definitions of fair in English:


Line breaks: fair
Pronunciation: /fɛː


1Treating people equally without favouritism or discrimination: the group has achieved fair and equal representation for all its members a fairer distribution of wealth
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.
1.1Just or appropriate in the circumstances: to be fair, this subject poses special problems it’s not fair to take it out on her
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) not violent: try first by fair means
2(Of hair or complexion) light; blonde: a pretty girl with long fair hair
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(e), yellow, yellowish, golden, flaxen, light, light brown, light-coloured, strawberry blonde, tow-coloured, platinum, ash blonde, bleached, bleached-blonde, sun-bleached, peroxide, bottle-blonde;
pale, light, light-coloured, white, cream-coloured, creamy, peaches and cream;
2.1(Of a person) having a light complexion or hair: he’s very fair with blue eyes
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.
informal OK, okay, so-so, fair-to-middling
3.1Moderately good: 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.
3.2Australian /NZ informal Complete; utter: this cow is a fair swine
More example sentences
  • The fair fool Noel has taken a week-long fancy to me, and I am making an age-long fool of him.
4(Of weather) fine and dry: a fair autumn day
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, sunshiny, sunlit, cloudless, without a cloud in the sky;
warm, balmy, summery, clement, benign, agreeable, pleasant, good
4.1(Of the wind) favourable: 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.
favourable, advantageous, helpful, benign, beneficial;
opportune, timely;
on one's side, in one's favour
5 archaic Beautiful: 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) specious despite being initially attractive: the Sophists have plenty of brave words and fair devices
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.


Back to top  
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.


archaic Back to top  


[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 Old High German fagar.


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 win, 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

1British With absolute accuracy: he got you fair and square in his gunsight
2Honestly 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, according to the rules, in accordance with the rules;
lawfully, legally, licitly, legitimately
informal on the level
North American informal on the up and up

a fair deal

Equitable treatment: you will always get a fair deal when you book with us
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 dos

British informal Used to request just treatment or accept that it has been given: Fair dos—you don’t believe I’ve been idle all this time?
More example sentences
  • Bookies don't normally like to pay out, but fair dos to him.
  • If Will and Trond can attract tourism into the Borders by doing this then fair dos.
  • However, in fair dos to the man, he sorted out New Zealand Rail and made it efficient for 1 year, and he made it available to -

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.

fair game

A person or thing that is considered a reasonable target for criticism, exploitation, or attack: when it came to practical jokes, he regarded anybody as fair game
More example sentences
  • One minute we are presented as the pride of the nation, the next we're all fair game for criticism again.
  • I am aware that my job as an art critic makes me fair game - and I would not do it if I minded.
  • You undermine the office if you do that, it really means that it's fair game for anybody to do it.

fair go

Australian /NZ informal Used for emphasis or to request someone to be reasonable or fair: Fair go! How can I ask a thing like that?
More example sentences
  • And what's a fair go, for the benefit of those who voted liberal?
  • Anyway, now as an international student at Vic, I want to make sure that international students have a fair go at student life.
  • Importantly, both sides will get a fair go on Sunday night.

fair name

dated A good reputation: the fair name of the squadron
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 (or 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 a situation 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: I hope we’ll 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

Likely to achieve something: you are in a fair way to have cured yourself
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 informal 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.’

be set fair

British (Of the weather) be fine and likely to stay fine for a time: figurative conditions were set fair for stable political and economic development
More example sentences
  • The course was generally in good condition and the day was set fair for a fine competition.
  • The course was generally in good condition and the day was set fair for a fine competition.
  • Anyway - must be positive - it's a nice day again and the weather forecast is set fair right through until after the weekend, so walking should be more of a pleasure than a chore.



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:


Line breaks: fair
Pronunciation: /fɛː


1A gathering of stalls and amusements for public entertainment: I won a goldfish at the fair
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.
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, mart, exchange, sale;
open-air market, indoor market, flea market
archaic emporium
2.1An exhibition to promote particular products: the European Fine 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.
2.2North American An annual competitive exhibition of livestock, agricultural products, etc., held by a town, county, or state.
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.


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:


Line breaks: fair
Pronunciation: /fɛː


[with object] (usually as adjective faired)
Streamline (a vehicle, boat, or aircraft) by adding fairings: it is fully faired and race ready
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: