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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English fayr, feir, fager, from Old English fæġer (beautiful), 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. (archaic or literary) Beautiful, of a pleasing appearance, with a pure and fresh quality.
    Monday's child is fair of face.
    There was once a knight who wooed a fair young maid.
    • 1460-1500, The Towneley Playsː
      He is so fair, without lease, he seems full well to sit on this.
    • 1912 February–July, Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Under the Moons of Mars”, in The All-Story, New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co., OCLC 17392886; republished as “Champion and Chief”, in A Princess of Mars, Chicago, Ill.: A[lexander] C[aldwell] McClurg & Co., 1917, OCLC 419578288, page 96:
      "It was a purely scientific research party sent out by my father's father, the Jeddak of Helium, to rechart the air currents, and to take atmospheric density tests," replied the fair prisoner, in a low, well-modulated voice.
    • 2010, Stephan Grundy, Beowulf (Fiction), iUniverse, →ISBN, page 33:
      And yet he was also, though many generations separated them, distant cousin to the shining eoten-main Geard, whom the god Frea Ing had seen from afar and wedded; and to Scatha, the fair daughter of the old thurse Theasa, who had claimed a husband from among the gods as weregild for her father's slaying: often, it was said, the ugliest eotens would sire the fairest maids.
  2. Unblemished (figuratively or literally); clean and pure; innocent.
    one's fair name
    After scratching out and replacing various words in the manuscript, he scribed a fair copy to send to the publisher.
    • 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.
    She had fair hair and blue eyes.
  4. Just, equitable.
    He must be given a fair trial.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314, page 0029:
      “[…] 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.
    The patient was in a fair condition after some treatment.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 3, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      My hopes wa'n't disappointed. I never saw clams thicker than they was along them inshore flats. I filled my dreener in no time, and then it come to me that 'twouldn't be a bad idee to get a lot more, take 'em with me to Wellmouth, and peddle 'em out. Clams was fairly scarce over that side of the bay and ought to fetch a fair price.
  6. (nautical, of a wind) Favorable to a ship's course.
  7. Not overcast; cloudless; clear; pleasant; propitious; said of the sky, weather, or wind, etc.
    a fair sky;  a fair day
  8. Free from obstacles or hindrances; unobstructed; unencumbered; open; direct; said of a road, passage, etc.
    a fair mark;  in fair sight;  a fair view
    • (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.
Derived termsEdit
Terms derived from fair (adjective)


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.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Six Volumes, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, [], OCLC 928184292:
      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.


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


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

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

Etymology 2Edit

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.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      The turmoil went on—no rest, no peace. […] It was nearly eleven o'clock now, and he strolled out again. In the little fair created by the costers' barrows the evening only seemed beginning; and the naphtha flares made one's eyes ache, the men's voices grated harshly, and the girls' faces saddened one.
  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 termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.




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


  • IPA(key): /fɛːr/, [fɛːɐ̯], [fɛɐ̯]
  • (file)


fair (comparative fairer, superlative am fairsten)

  1. (especially sports) fair (just, honest, equitable, adequate)
    ein faires Spielan honest game, a fairly played game
    Unsere einzige Möglichkeit, fair zu sein, ist, alle gleich schlecht zu behandeln.
    The only way we can be fair is by treating everybody equally badly.




Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit

  • fair in Duden online




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

  1. to watch



Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
fair fhair bhfair
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.