adjective, fair·er, fair·est.
- free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
- legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair fight.
- moderately large; ample: a fair income.
- neither excellent nor poor; moderately or tolerably good: fair health.
- marked by favoring conditions; likely; promising: in a fair way to succeed.
- (of the sky) bright; sunny; cloudless to half-cloudy.
- (of the weather) fine; with no prospect of rain, snow, or hail; not stormy.
- Nautical. (of a wind or tide) tending to aid the progress of a vessel.
- unobstructed; not blocked up: The way was fair for our advance.
- without irregularity or unevenness: a fair surface.
- free from blemish, imperfection, or anything that impairs the appearance, quality, or character: Her fair reputation was ruined by gossip.
- easy to read; clear: fair handwriting.
- of a light hue; not dark: fair skin.
- pleasing in appearance; attractive: a fair young maiden.
- seemingly good or sincere but not really so: The suitor beguiled his mistress with fair speeches.
- courteous; civil: fair words.
- Medicine/Medical. (of a patient’s condition) having stable and normal vital signs and other favorable indicators, as appetite and mobility, but being in some discomfort and having the possibility of a worsening state.
- Dialect. scarcely; barely: It was just fair daylight when we started working.
adverb, fair·er, fair·est.
- in a fair manner: He doesn’t play fair.
- straight; directly, as in aiming or hitting: He threw the ball fair to the goal.
- favorably; auspiciously.
- British, Australian. entirely; completely; quite: It happened so quickly that it fair took my breath away.
- Archaic. something that is fair.
- a woman.
- a beloved woman.
verb (used with object)
- to make the connection or junction of (surfaces) smooth and even.
- to draw and adjust (the lines of a hull being designed) to produce regular surfaces of the correct form.
- to adjust the form of (a frame or templet) in accordance with a design, or cause it to conform to the general form of a hull.
- to restore (a bent plate or structural member) to its original form.
- to align (the frames of a vessel under construction) in proper position.
- to bring (rivet holes in connecting structural members) into perfect alignment.
- Obsolete. to make fair.
- fair off/up, South Midland and Southern U.S. (of the weather) to clear: It’s supposed to fair off toward evening.
- bid fair, to seem likely: This entry bids fair to win first prize.
- fair and square,
- honestly; justly; straightforwardly: He won the race fair and square.
- honest; just; straightforward: He was admired for being fair and square in all his dealings.
- fair to middling, Informal. only tolerably good; so-so.
- an exhibition, usually competitive, of farm products, livestock, etc., often combined in the U.S. with entertainment and held annually by a county or state.
- a periodic gathering of buyers and sellers in an appointed place.
- an exposition in which different exhibitors participate, sometimes with the purpose of buying or selling: a science fair.
- an exhibition and sale of articles to raise money, often for some charitable purpose.
- free from discrimination, dishonesty, etc; just; impartial
- in conformity with rules or standards; legitimatea fair fight
- (of the hair or complexion) light in colour
- beautiful or lovely to look at
- moderately or quite gooda fair piece of work
- unblemished; untainted
- (of the tide or wind) favourable to the passage of a vessel
- sunny, fine, or cloudless
- (prenominal) informal thorough; reala fair battle to get to the counter
- pleasant or courteous
- apparently good or valuable, but really falsefair words
- open or unobstructeda fair passage
- Australian (of handwriting) clear and legible
- a fair crack of the whip, Australian a fair shake of the dice or a fair go informal a fair opportunity; fair chance
- fair and square in a correct or just way
- fair do’s
- equal shares or treatment
- an expression of appeal for equal shares or treatment
- fair enough! an expression of agreement
- fair go! Australian and NZ informal come off it!; I don’t believe it!
- fair to middling about average
- in a fair way; correctlyact fair, now!
- absolutely or squarely; quitethe question caught him fair off his guard
- dialect really or veryfair tired
- (intr) dialect (of the weather) to become fine and mild
- archaic a person or thing that is beautiful or valuable, esp a woman
- a travelling entertainment with sideshows, rides, etc, esp one that visits places at the same time each year
- a gathering of producers of and dealers in a given class of products to facilitate businessa book fair
- an event including amusements and the sale of goods, esp for a charity; bazaar
- a regular assembly at a specific place for the sale of goods, esp livestock
Old English fæger “beautiful, lovely, pleasant,” from Proto-Germanic *fagraz (cf. Old Saxon fagar, Old Norse fagr, Old High German fagar “beautiful,” Gothic fagrs “fit”), perhaps from PIE *pek- “to make pretty” (cf. Lithuanian puošiu “I decorate”).
The meaning in reference to weather (c.1200) preserves the original sense (opposed to foul). Sense of “light-complexioned” (1550s) reflects tastes in beauty; sense of “free from bias” (mid-14c.) evolved from another early meaning, “morally pure, unblemished” (late 12c.). The sporting senses (fair ball, fair catch etc.) began in 1856. Fair play is from 1590s; fair and square is from c.1600. Fair-haired in the figurative sense of “darling, favorite” is from 1909. First record of fair-weather friends is from 1736.
early 14c., from Anglo-French feyre (late 13c.), from Old French feire, from Vulgar Latin *feria “holiday, market fair,” from Latin feriae “religious festivals, holidays,” related to festus “solemn, festive, joyous” (see feast).
In addition to the idioms beginning with fair
- fair and square
- fair enough
- fair game
- fair play
- fair sex
- fair shake, a
- fair to middling
- fairy godmother
- all’s fair in love and war
- play fair
- turnabout is fair play