Main definitions of fair in English

: fair1fair2fair3


Pronunciation /fer/ /fɛr/

See synonyms for fair

Translate fair into Spanish


  • 1In accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate.

    ‘the group has achieved fair and equal representation for all its members’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The role of government is to provide everyone with a fair chance to pursue success.’
    • ‘The parliamentary election last May was recognized as generally fair by international observers.’
    • ‘It is good to see that once more, our courtrooms will return to normalcy, discharging justice to the nation in a free and fair manner.’
    • ‘It's a very, very difficult task to setup a democratic and free and fair society out of the ashes of that dictatorship.’
    • ‘Was this a free and fair election to the best of your information?’
    • ‘Free and fair elections also include a well-informed electorate.’
    • ‘Free and fair elections look a near impossibility.’
    • ‘It has no independent political parties, no free and fair elections, and no independent news media.’
    • ‘But how do you have free and fair elections under an occupation, under a foreign occupation?’
    • ‘He won the first free and fair election in the country's history with 67 percent of the vote.’
    • ‘Lawyers will claim that the system is so corrupt that it breaches obligations under the European convention on human rights to hold free and fair elections.’
    • ‘It is also just fair to agree that Government has provided a free atmosphere that has laid a good groundwork to a free and fair election.’
    • ‘The EC announced elections to be held now on December 10 after it was satisfied that now free and fair elections can be held.’
    • ‘Perhaps it is true that scientific opinion polls are inappropriate for a society that has never known free and fair elections before.’
    • ‘In addition, they should continue calls for a political settlement that reflects the results of the free and fair elections held in 1990.’
    • ‘‘This shows that left alone, they can conduct free and fair elections,’ said Odinga.’
    • ‘He said the company's internal disciplinary hearings procedure have been found by the Labour Court to be fair and proper.’
    just, equitable, fair-minded, open-minded, honest, upright, honourable, trustworthy
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Just or appropriate in the circumstances.
      ‘ to be fair, this subject poses special problems’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The judges said they found the commission's decision to be fair and reasonable.’
      • ‘They would need to be fair and reasonable, and the fees would need to provide the board with adequate funding.’
      • ‘There are a set of rules that the Congress and the department have worked out over years that are assumed to be fair and reasonable.’
      • ‘The law governing shoppers' rights requires consumers to be fair and reasonable in their expectations.’
      • ‘I have tried to be fair, reasonable and upfront with information.’
      • ‘To be fair, Lloyd-Jones certainly recognised that there was merit in such a procedure.’
      • ‘To be fair, there is a practical reason for placing the sketch at the end.’
      • ‘To be fair, we did get some halfway reasonable coverage afterwards.’
      • ‘However, he wants to be fair to you and for that reason wishes to set up a mechanism whereby repayment of your investment can be effected.’
      • ‘Demand for the service is growing fast - although, to be fair, not all brands would find the medium suitable.’
      • ‘To be fair, civilians often underestimate the stress that military service places on one's personal life.’
      • ‘Now to be fair to therapists, I don't know whether my therapist Linda was a bad one, or if she was just fine and just not the right one for me.’
      • ‘She said she wanted to be fair but also avoid litigation.’
      • ‘In determining wages, salaries and perks, especially in a time of plenty, Government must not only be fair, but it must be seen to be fair.’
      • ‘She deserves a fair hearing judged upon her own merits, capacities and contributions.’
      • ‘So we thought it would be eminently fair to compare the performance of the two drives.’
    2. 1.2archaic (of a means or procedure) gentle; not violent.
      • ‘try first by fair means’
    3. 1.3Baseball (of a batted ball) within the field of play marked by the first and third baselines.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘The ball rolled in front of the plate and home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled it a fair ball.’
      • ‘Any batted ball that strikes the pole or its attached netting is a fair ball and is ruled a home run.’
    4. 1.4Baseball Pertaining to the fair part of the field.
      ‘the ball was hit into fair territory’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The ball landed untouched in fair territory before rolling foul on the first base side.’
      • ‘The right fielder leaps and prevents the ball from going into the stands in fair territory.’
  • 2(of hair or complexion) light; blond.

    ‘a pretty girl with long fair hair’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had long blonde hair and fair skin that looked as if it had never been in the sun.’
    • ‘He is described as being medium build with a fair complexion and light brown hair.’
    • ‘Berry shades for example suit olive skins, while reds with pinkish undertones work best on those with fair complexions and fair hair.’
    • ‘For blondes, chamomile can lighten fair hair when used as a rinse.’
    • ‘The second person, a female with long blonde hair and fair skin, walked up to the middle podium.’
    • ‘Glancing up she quickly scanned the merry faces, looking for one with light skin and fair hair.’
    • ‘Finally, bold colors tend to be unflattering on men with fair hair and light skin.’
    • ‘He was short and thin, with fair hair and a light sprinkle of freckles on his nose.’
    • ‘Coren pointed to the tallest guy, who had very fair skin, platinum blonde hair, and very dark black eyes.’
    • ‘Morgan and Basil were both under the light, their fair hair standing out like beacons in a fog.’
    • ‘She had waist length brown hair, with hazel eyes, high cheekbones and a fair complexion.’
    • ‘All I can make out is that she has black hair and eyes, a fair complexion, and a very bad temper.’
    • ‘His short black hair matched the jacket and provided a contrast to his fair complexion.’
    • ‘He was distracted momentarily by the way the light played off her fair skin and golden hair.’
    • ‘The male is white, in his 20s, 5ft 4in tall, with fair hair and a pale complexion.’
    • ‘Her hair was fair, and lay in a knot of yellow behind her head.’
    • ‘The morning sunlight cast golden shades on her father's fair hair, picking out the silvering strands.’
    blond, blonde, 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
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1(of a person) having a light complexion or blond hair.
      ‘he's very fair with blue eyes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The fair women seem to have a layer of light hiding beneath their skin.’
      • ‘The darker your skin, the more likely you are to see changes; if you're very fair or have red hair you may not notice any at all.’
      • ‘At Singhpora, as I sat in the booth, a tall, fair young man entered, got himself ink-marked but begged not to be forced to vote.’
      • ‘Jessica is tanned and has shoulder-length brown hair while Holly is fair and has blonde hair.’
  • 3Considerable though not outstanding in size or amount.

    ‘he did a fair bit of coaching’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To get a solid image, it's important to have a fair amount of paint on the stamp.’
    • ‘The good news is that with a little bit of cash, a lot of imagination and a fair amount of hard work you can transform your bathroom into a room of which you can be proud.’
    • ‘Alissa's dad thinks that's a fair amount that will teach her to be a bit more careful.’
    • ‘The big peat shed still has a fair amount of peat and a good bit of other rubbish in it including an old moped!’
    • ‘One room looked a bit like ballroom only much smaller - a fair amount of faux glitz on the walls, a decent amount of light and a trestle-tabled bar on one wall.’
    • ‘I wrote quite a bit, and I took a fair amount of pictures, some of which I've shown, and some of which have been published in different places.’
    • ‘A little bit of a friendly debate went on for a fair amount of time.’
    • ‘‘We did a fair amount of walking and I really noticed the difference in my fitness,’ he says.’
    • ‘There is a fair amount of speckling, a bit of debris, and some grain in evidence, but no edge effects.’
    • ‘That's when somebody noticed that Bayer was getting a fair amount of mention in the national press, albeit in the sports pages.’
    • ‘Colors are a bit faded, the image is a bit soft, and there is a fair amount of grain from the source elements.’
    • ‘She looked up at him, seeing as he was a fair amount taller than her, and smirked a bit.’
    • ‘As a student, I did a fair amount of acting with the university dramatic society.’
    • ‘They performed a few jumps, flips and a fair amount of swimming, just visible to the naked eye.’
    • ‘I get a fair amount of spam that is clearly illegal already under the rules governing fraud.’
    • ‘Obviously, that would have taken a fair bit of time and a lot of consideration.’
    • ‘As one who's had to read a fair number of toddler books over the past years, I'll always have a soft spot for this one.’
    reasonable, passable, tolerable, satisfactory, acceptable, respectable, decent, all right, good enough, goodish, pretty good, not bad, moderate, average, middling, ample, adequate, sufficient
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1Moderately good though not outstandingly so.
      ‘he believes he has a fair chance of success’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Knowing the state of the rails, though, it'll only take half an inch to stop the trains from running, so the chances are fair to good, I'd say.’
      • ‘Everybody should have a fair chance and succeed or fail at it.’
      • ‘The feeling was that we would have a fair chance of funding for this sort of thing.’
      • ‘I wanted to give the film a fair chance and I didn't feel like my opinions would be valid if I left before the end.’
      • ‘Acting opposite Ashmit Patel, another newcomer, the movie gives them both a fair chance to show off their skills.’
      • ‘When there is a fair chance of getting away with these minor misdemeanors without punishment there will be not deterrence.’
      • ‘Where plants have been flooded or forced to stand for many days in waterlogged soil, there is a fair chance that some root damage will have resulted.’
      • ‘As there was nobody else about, there was a fair chance he was also waiting for the minibus to take us to one of Ecuador's many splendid lagunas.’
      • ‘Another was listed in serious condition and the third was in fair condition, both at the Lakeview Medical Centre.’
      • ‘Children born in one of the industrialized countries have a fair chance of reaching an average 78 years of age.’
      • ‘Yes, I accept that, but the test really is whether the appellant lost a fair chance of acquittal reasonably open to him.’
      • ‘If they can be, and the product is well marketed, then there is a fair chance of success.’
      • ‘This situation would apply at least until the end of 2006 and it seems to have a fair chance of acceptance and implementation.’
      • ‘I think that there is here an argument, with a fair chance of success, that the claim here is different.’
      • ‘If school choice is given a fair chance, its success or failure should be determined by results.’
      • ‘That would be a great achievement, and one at which I have a fair chance of success.’
      • ‘UK ministers regard the bid as standing a fair chance of success and believe that it will prove popular with the public.’
      reasonable, passable, tolerable, satisfactory, acceptable, respectable, decent, all right, good enough, goodish, pretty good, not bad, moderate, average, middling, ample, adequate, sufficient
      View synonyms
  • 4(of weather) fine and dry.

    ‘a fair autumn day’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's not like I'm a fair weather fan whose team is losing so she gives up.’
    • ‘But Muriel, 65, always a keen walker, does not only step out in fair weather.’
    • ‘She has been practising voraciously over the winter, and is determined to nail once and for all any accusation that she is a fair weather golfer.’
    • ‘Only fair weather and a buggy could tempt me, and, if a little food was involved, I think I could find a round of golf quite agreeable.’
    • ‘In fair weather, she could quite happily sit for hours amongst her flowers.’
    • ‘The work was said to be subject to fair weather conditions, in which case it would be carried out as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Time is precious as olives can only harvest in fair weather, so everybody is allocated a job.’
    • ‘The sun is out and the fair weather bench-lunchers come out from out of their rocks.’
    • ‘For that matter even on fair weather days it is hard to safely occupy two small children.’
    • ‘Johan Stander, a weather forecaster at the Cape Town weather office, said fair weather was expected until Thursday.’
    • ‘With fair weather, members of the public attending were able to sample and buy produce grown by the allotment tenants.’
    • ‘York's tour buses trundle around their circuit come fair weather or foul.’
    • ‘As much as night can seem black and choking in an isolated room up high, it was almost non-existent when the weather was fair.’
    • ‘Conversely, road rage is most likely to occur on Friday afternoons, in peak travel times and in fair weather.’
    • ‘As the work progressed, Marsh stalked its perimeter in fair weather or surveyed the site from the comfort of a warm room when it was raining or snowing.’
    • ‘During fair weather they frequently roost in hardwood knolls and the edges of hillside benches.’
    • ‘After all, the months of May to August have a reasonable chance of being fair.’
    fine, dry, bright, clear, sunny, sunshiny, sunlit, cloudless, without a cloud in the sky
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1(of the wind) favorable.
      ‘they set sail with a fair wind’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, for the most part, the acrimony was abandoned at the side of the road and business proceeded with a fair wind.’
      • ‘Anecdotally, the former journalist and television presenter has a fair wind behind her.’
      • ‘All sides hope it can get a fair wind and bring an end to the stop-start episodes.’
      • ‘Still, advance bookings are running high: Scots do tend to give new routes a fair wind.’
      • ‘There was a fair wind blowing now and the snow was starting to come down again.’
      • ‘My understanding is that with a fair wind behind him he may get a slightly bigger budget next time.’
      • ‘That's true even if the forecast is for sunny skies and fair winds.’
      • ‘Given a fair wind, some analysts believe the shares could make it to €12.’
      • ‘When it came to rounding up cattle, it was often said that you needed three things: a good man, a good horse and a fair wind.’
      • ‘Inevitably, in these conditions, the impetus to politics, given a fair wind, was bound to grow.’
      • ‘As both relied on fair winds for their ocean travels, the bird was welcomed as a kindred spirit.’
      • ‘A fair wind and dry conditions led to some very good scoring at the unusually quiet Green Valley layout.’
      • ‘It was a beautiful evening, with fair winds, tranquility, a pleasant picture of a family and delicacies on the plate in front of me!’
      • ‘I wish it fair wind and every success on its journey - the project and the people deserve it, Bishop Murphy said.’
      • ‘The ship had caught a swift moving current and a fair breeze in her sail, carrying them towards the open seas at a ripping pace.’
      favourable, advantageous, helpful, benign, beneficial
      View synonyms
  • 5archaic Beautiful: attractive.

    ‘the fairest of her daughters’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Its silver reflection lay delicately on the calm, deep blue water, like the shimmering gown of a fair lady.’
    • ‘Always one of the festival's more popular events, people can catch up with all the fair ladies at the various events over the coming days.’
    beautiful, pretty, lovely, attractive, good-looking, nice-looking, gorgeous, stunning, striking, arresting, captivating, prepossessing, winning, enchanting, appealing, ravishing, desirable, luscious, nubile
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1(of words, a speech, or a promise) false, despite being initially attractive or pleasing; specious.
      ‘the Sophists have plenty of brave words and fair devices’
      • ‘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.’


  • 1Without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage.

    ‘no one could say he played fair’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2dialect as submodifier To a high degree.

    ‘she'll be fair delighted to see you’
    • ‘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.’


  • A beautiful woman.

    • ‘pursuing his fair in a solitary street’

intransitive verb

[no object]dialect
  • (of the weather) become fine.

    ‘looks like it's fairing off some’
    • ‘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.’


    the fair sex
    • Women viewed collectively.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the women in neighbouring Cork are the highest-spending members of the fairer sex, with their average shopping bill coming to €780.’
      • ‘The news agent racks that are crammed with women's lifestyles magazines may not appear to have room for any more titles targeted at the fairer sex.’
      • ‘Last year's inaugural ladies football tournament generated huge interest in the area and also brought to light some fine footballing talent among the fairer sex.’
      • ‘Not so many years ago, the participation of the fairer sex in athletics was frowned upon and viewed as being ‘unladylike’.’
      • ‘After scoring two number one hits with cultural songs, singer Natty King is once again on the hit trail, this time with Love Me, a love ode to the fairer sex.’
      • ‘The reason Fiona stays involved in boxing, despite being the sole representative of the fairer sex, is that she loves it.’
      • ‘But the controversy in no way affected his following, particularly among the fairer sex.’
    fair enough
    • Used to admit that something is reasonable or acceptable.

      • ‘“I can't come because I'm working late.” “Fair enough.”’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You know, it's fair enough not to share your cigarettes with a stranger, but this response seemed excessive.’
      • ‘It wasn't the only raised eyebrow in an otherwise excellent evening, but fair enough, she did offer to go and find out.’
      • ‘This is a fair enough definition, but it is salutary, I believe, to consider the implications.’
      • ‘Banning smoking in restaurants is fair enough - in fact such a ban is pretty much in place.’
      • ‘If you love her and want to be with her, but are, say, ideologically opposed to marriage, then fair enough.’
      • ‘If it was the result of a comprehensive review and recommendation of how to fix something broken then fair enough.’
      • ‘She said no, of course, which is fair enough, but it was her reaction that upset me the most.’
    fair's fair
    • Used to request just treatment or assert that an arrangement is just.

      • ‘Fair's fair—we were here first’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have to say I thought this was funny, but fair's fair.’
      • ‘But fair's fair, it was still a respectable time given his bulky size and he had apparently had a busy day, including a rowing session and a long walk.’
      • ‘So fair's fair, if it's so hard for me why should it be so easy for you?’
      • ‘But fair's fair: Henry showed that humour can indeed be more effective than invective.’
      • ‘I think fair's fair if one parent is a native of the country in question.’
      • ‘The lamb kebab was delicious and each of us could happily have polished it off, but fair's fair and we split it in two.’
      • ‘After all, fair's fair, and I can't believe they have the audacity to require their players to have certain skills and abilities.’
    • Slightly above average.

      ‘she manages to capitalize on some fair-to-middling material’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can report that she has fair-to-middling technique with an over-reliance on the toe-punt rather than the instep.’
      • ‘My only reservation would be in considering the fair-to-middling quality of the print, which will bother anyone who likes a crisp, colorful image.’
      • ‘An outstanding long-range sniper, Jacobsen has only a fair-to-middling off-dribble game and plays very little defense.’
      • ‘I have bought PJ Harvey's Uh Huh Her, which deserves much better than the fair-to-middling reviews it's received.’
      • ‘I am a fair-to-middling player and lasted a respectable 38 moves, but I can't claim Hydra was ever sweating.’
      • ‘He is also honest enough to acknowledge that he prefers to be away from reminders of his fair-to-middling place in cinema hierarchy.’
      • ‘With $41 million-odd in the pocket he should have a fair-to-middling retirement when he departs in August.’
    all's fair in love and war
    • In certain highly charged situations, any method of achieving your objective is justifiable.

      ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Well, Larry, I've got to tell you something, as far as what happens in a courtroom, it's basically all's fair in love and war.’
      • ‘‘I really shouldn't like him since I know Pheobe kind of does,’ Treena thought to herself. ‘But as they say, all's fair in love and war.’’
      • ‘‘Sorry, honey,’ Kyle remarked, ‘but all's fair in love and war.’’
      • ‘I suppose all's fair in love and war then, huh?’
      • ‘I want her back and am currently waging a war of emotions on her to convince her of my true love for her (Hey, all's fair in love and war.)’
      • ‘From Cole's perspective, all's fair in love and war, and collecting art was war.’
      • ‘They say all's fair in love and war, but what about contracts?’
    fair name
    • A good reputation.

      ‘the fair name of the squadron’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But alas, I haven't a penny to my fair name - at least not after my next few purchases.’
      • ‘I am writing to express my concern that the fair name of Shepperton is about to be libelled in the most scurrilous fashion.’
    by fair means or foul
    literary, humorous
    • Using whatever means are necessary.

      ‘they were determined to ensure victory for themselves, by fair means or foul’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘At the crack of dawn, my over-excitable mother used to wake the household on Christmas morning, and by fair means or foul, persuade us to get up and go downstairs to ‘see if he has been’.’
      • ‘As long as he gets his man - by fair means or foul - Sgt Eldon Perry reckons anything goes in order to maintain law and order.’
      • ‘Here, of course, was a classic case of Machiavellian politics: the attempt to bend the will of the party to his view by fair means or foul.’
      • ‘Their aim is to divide and conquer by fair means or foul.’
      • ‘If you don't want to be left behind, you should immediately go out and acquire, by fair means or foul, this piece of work.’
      • ‘And the higher you've climbed up the greasy pole, by fair means or foul, the further you have to fall.’
      • ‘Previously there was the report of the former warden who told of targets and quotas which had to be achieved by fair means or foul.’
    for fair
    US informal, dated
    • Completely and finally.

      • ‘then we'd be rid of him for fair’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘Hey, no fair, I barely handled it for a minute!’
      • ‘Hey, no fair firing at me when I was trying to make a point to someone!’
      • ‘Surely I won't surprise you by noting that those stereotypes are mean, misogynist, and no fair (if you need to keep your term paper short, try a literary survey of evil fathers-in-law).’
      • ‘That's no fair, I was suppose to find them, NOT you two!’
      • ‘Hey that's no fair, why do you have to be ordered around by you?’
      • ‘I tilted my head on my hand, ‘Hey, no fair changing the subject.’’
      • ‘It's no fair talking to the mystery person if you're not going to share with the class, Regan.’
    it's a fair cop
    British informal
    • 1

      see fair

    • 2An admission that the speaker has been caught doing wrong and deserves punishment.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have very frequently accused Walter Hill of taking too much from the directing style of Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch), and it's a fair cop as evidenced in various scenes in Southern Comfort.’
      • ‘There's nothing stopping you from shrugging your shoulders, admitting it's a fair cop, and sending the deactivation signal.’
    a fair deal
    • Equitable treatment.

      ‘you will always get a fair deal when you book with us’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We are confident that our staff, most of whom do not want to strike, will recognise this as a fair deal.’
      • ‘‘We don't have the resources to do major promotional campaigns but we do go with a fair deal to our customers,’ he says.’
      • ‘He vowed to continue to fight for a fair deal for all.’
      • ‘We have also heard from postmasters who were involved in the programme - my committee therefore pledged to do all it could to secure a fair deal for all involved.’
      • ‘Mystery shoppers are to visit a random selection of the 2,500 garages in Yorkshire and Humberside to check customers are getting a fair deal.’
      • ‘Are they not entitled to a fair deal, a good education and equality of opportunity?’
      • ‘They met last Friday to begin a new campaign in the county which demands a fair deal for carers, with recognition of their work and proper support.’
    fair and square
    • Honestly and straightforwardly.

      ‘we won the match fair and square’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They basically say the president campaigned on that notion and he won the election fair and square, it's time for him to move the high court to the right.’
      • ‘We want to win races fair and square, not to have - having them be stolen.’
      • ‘I'm sure we'll win fair and square later on without having to do anything to upset him.’
      • ‘I believe that I won this medal fair and square, and that the horse has not been given anything that would make him jump better.’
      • ‘We won that fight fair and square, but you had to be a poor sport say we lost when you yourself was dumped on your backside!’
      • ‘I love to win, but I want to win fair and square too.’
      • ‘Although it was a close fight, Ali won it fair and square 7-5 in rounds.’
    in a fair way to do something
    • Having nearly done something, and likely to achieve it.

      ‘he is in a fair way to get well’
      • ‘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.’


Old English fæger ‘pleasing, attractive’, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German fagar.

Main definitions of fair in English

: fair1fair2fair3


Pronunciation /fer/ /fɛr/

See synonyms for fair

Translate fair into Spanish


  • 1A gathering of stalls and amusements for public entertainment.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘These men descend from the era - long before radio and television, cinemas and telephones - when itinerant narrators brought news and entertainment to country fairs and village squares.’
    • ‘The street will then be set up as a street fair, with food stalls, entertainment booths, exhibitions, and cultural shows.’
    • ‘It was the culmination of a fun packed day with activities that included canal associated stalls, a craft fair, a pig roast and a display of canal craft.’
    • ‘At higher levels, and with greater dexterity, stilts have been used as entertainment props since the fairs of the Middle Ages, and probably long before then.’
    • ‘The following weekend will see the procession on the Saturday before the crowds head for the Lawns to enjoy fairs, stalls and displays from local groups.’
    • ‘The scouts hosted an autumn fair, complete with stalls and children's entertainers at the Orbital Retail Park in North Swindon.’
    • ‘Some of the attractions offered at fairs and amusement parks have always been dangerous.’
    • ‘It sounds good and if it does result in more properly-managed concerts, fairs, festivals and community events being staged in the city's parks it has to be good news.’
    • ‘Many Marathas go to local festivals and fairs, and enjoy traditional folk entertainment.’
    • ‘But for children who choose to spend their holidays in their hometowns, fairs and carnivals can be good entertainment.’
    • ‘Today, it is celebrated with street fairs, parties, picnics, and fireworks.’
    • ‘Most fairs provided entertainments but these remained only marginal until the major commercial changes of the 18th century.’
    • ‘Initially, she performed at festivals and fairs, but while on a writing trip to New York City she was talent-spotted and signed to Arista Records by the label's new boss, L. A. Reid.’
    • ‘Traditional entertainment may be part of religious fairs and festivals or provided by traveling bands of professional entertainers.’
    • ‘Infected children may be excluded by the local authority from school, and from public places of entertainment and assembly such as fairs, swimming pools, cinemas, and skating rinks.’
    • ‘Like the original 1969 Woodstock music and arts fair, Willistock will be unforgettable.’
    • ‘Ulverston welcomes the annual spring fair to town as of Wednesday when all the usual rides, fun and laughter will fill The Gill.’
    fete, gala, festival, carnival, funfair
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North 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.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘Central Market lets me get the shopping done while making me feel as if I've just been to the county fair.’
      • ‘The experience far surpasses a pony ride at a county fair, and children will delight in the adventure.’
      • ‘Pickpockets gravitate to such high-traffic areas as airports, vacation resorts and county fairs, Foley says.’
      • ‘After hawking their burgers at county fairs for a few years, they decided to open up a restaurant.’
      • ‘In lazy summer days, it is usually time for parades, ice cream socials and county fairs.’
      • ‘I'm sure you have watched dog shows, horse shows, etc. on TV or at a county fair.’
      • ‘As for the county fair, well, I'm planning to enter the fruits and vegetables competition.’
      • ‘Every year, our community has a livestock fair, which JRH has found himself enjoying.’
      • ‘For example, when she was thirteen, her bread and embroidery won two grand prizes at the county fair.’
      • ‘As a kid my neighbor Lois would employ me to gather elderberries for pies that she would enter in the county fair.’
      • ‘Homemade jellies, pies and canned goods earned her ribbons at the county fair.’
      • ‘Mom had taken me to the county fair with Lily, and I had won the painting by popping a balloon with a dart.’
      • ‘When I was a kid, going to the county fair was a big deal and every one of them had a shooting gallery.’
      • ‘One of most enduring memories in my life is when I won a key chain at a county fair.’
      • ‘The boy beamed as if he had just won a stuffed toy in one of those side shows at the county fair.’
    2. 1.2A periodic gathering for the sale of goods.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘While kids love the brightly painted, simple toys, there's another segment of society who pore over internet sites, haunt garage sales and church fairs.’
      • ‘Gather a well-stocked home library, perhaps through used-book stores, book fairs, and garage sales.’
      • ‘There may well be a few more jumble sales and autumn fairs in Sheffield next year.’
      • ‘In the middle of last year I started making jam and selling it at car boot sales and craft fairs.’
      • ‘‘I am always on the look out at car boot sales and at antiques fairs,’ she said.’
      • ‘To stock the shop the sales team scoured trade fairs to choose a selection that is exciting and unusual.’
      • ‘Also, being showcased in the book fair guarantees big sales.’
      • ‘Organisers have appealed for items to be donated for sale at the fair.’
      • ‘As auctioneers we are acutely aware of the potential problem this autumn when the traditional sheep sales and fairs have been a major outlet for breeders and store lamb producers.’
      • ‘The rules were probably suspended during the periodic fairs, some of which did impressive business.’
      • ‘It will also include events in villages across Lancashire from rose queens, town crier competitions to plant sales and antique fairs.’
      • ‘For most people the periodic fairs and assemblies were the high spots of the year.’
      • ‘He expects this year's showcase to be affected by the weak dollar but predicts that sales at the fair will still match last year's levels.’
      • ‘He said: ‘Stan was a great person to be around and a wonderful organiser of our Christmas bazaars and May Day fairs.’’
      • ‘Having spent several years acquiring photographs from art fairs and auctions around the world, Bernard's collection features some of the most unforgettable shots of the past two centuries.’
      • ‘The couple's complicated travel schedule takes in trade fairs and art sales around the world, while always keeping to the three-week rule.’
      • ‘There will be many fairs with street stalls selling all sorts of traditional as well as newer merchandise that will certainly help add to the clutter again.’
      • ‘The organisation markets these products through exhibitions and fairs at the local and national level, in association with other craft-based agencies.’
      market, bazaar, mart, exchange, sale
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3An exhibition to promote particular products.
      ‘the Contemporary Art Fair’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How does displaying a product at a trade fair conform to a requirement to observe a strict code of confidentiality in relation to the product?’
      • ‘Last year nearly 20,000 companies exhibited at TDC-sponsored trade fairs attended by more than 400,000 buyers, according to council statistics.’
      • ‘He added that access to relevant Germany industry exhibition catalogues and trade fairs was vital and explained that services such as translation and support made a huge difference.’
      • ‘Linda, who exhibits at local wedding fairs and exhibitions, has designed all the decoration arrangements which she keeps in a ready available portfolio.’
      • ‘And Dr Sousa said that this gap in communication can often surface, embarrassingly, at business fairs and exhibitions.’
      • ‘For the foreign participants in those exhibitions and trade fairs from especially Europe another reform seems necessary.’
      • ‘After the hectic Christmas build-up which starts as early as September the time has come to visit more trade fairs and source new products.’
      • ‘Trade fairs and exhibitions, which herald every festival season, have already come up at various spots in the city.’
      • ‘Mistry is also conducting a workshop at the trade fair, where this exhibition has been put up.’
      • ‘He said those working in the exhibition industry should be familiar with products and services in world markets and be able to organise promotions and trade fairs, and many are not.’
      • ‘Yang Renzheng was speaking at the Hong Kong trade fair promoting his city Huzhou.’
      • ‘Participate regularly at relevant trade fairs for your product - at least one - and then annually so people get to know you and become used to you in their country.’
      • ‘Shot almost entirely at one of those trade fairs on a huge exhibition space, Helen Graham and Rosie Ellison's film touches on things rather than investigates in depth.’
      • ‘Demonstrators at an arms fair in London that same year were also searched under anti-terrorism legislation.’
      • ‘Abbreviated screening, or cholesterol testing, is also available to the public through health fairs and at some pharmacies.’
      • ‘The atrium hosts a variety of events from art shows and children's concerts to health fairs and screenings.’
      • ‘Christopher visits markets, agricultural shows and trade fairs all over Britain seeking out the best producers to join the Distinctly British fold.’
      exhibition, display, show, showing, presentation, demonstration, exposition, spectacle, extravaganza
      View synonyms


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).

Main definitions of fair in English

: fair1fair2fair3


Pronunciation /fer/ /fɛr/

See synonyms for fair

Translate fair into Spanish

transitive verb

[with object]
  • Smooth the lines of (a vehicle, boat, or aircraft) to reduce drag; streamline.

    ‘we've sanded and faired the hull and have primed it for winter’
    • ‘faired bikes are much more comfortable for doing longer distances’
    • ‘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.



/fer/ /fɛr/