Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of pleasing appearance, especially because of a pure or fresh quality; comely.
  • adj. Light in color, especially blond: fair hair.
  • adj. Of light complexion: fair skin.
  • adj. Free of clouds or storms; clear and sunny: fair skies.
  • adj. Free of blemishes or stains; clean and pure: one's fair name.
  • adj. Promising; likely: We're in a fair way to succeed.
  • adj. Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias; impartial: a fair mediator.
  • adj. Just to all parties; equitable: a compromise that is fair to both factions.
  • adj. Being in accordance with relative merit or significance: She wanted to receive her fair share of the proceeds.
  • adj. Consistent with rules, logic, or ethics: a fair tactic.
  • adj. Moderately good; acceptable or satisfactory: gave only a fair performance of the play; in fair health.
  • adj. Superficially true or appealing; specious: Don't trust his fair promises.
  • adj. Lawful to hunt or attack: fair game.
  • adj. Archaic Free of all obstacles.
  • adv. In a proper or legal manner: playing fair.
  • adv. Directly; straight: a blow caught fair in the stomach.
  • transitive v. To join (pieces) so as to be smooth, even, or regular: faired the aircraft's wing into the fuselage.
  • n. Archaic A beautiful or beloved woman.
  • n. Obsolete Loveliness; beauty.
  • off Chiefly Southern U.S. To become clear. Used of weather.
  • idiom fair and square Just and honest.
  • idiom for fair To the greatest or fullest extent possible: Our team was beaten for fair in that tournament.
  • idiom no fair Something contrary to the rules: That was no fair.
  • n. A gathering held at a specified time and place for the buying and selling of goods; a market.
  • n. An exhibition, as of farm products or manufactured goods, usually accompanied by various competitions and entertainments: a state fair.
  • n. An exhibition intended to inform people about a product or business opportunity: a computer fair; a job fair.
  • n. An event, usually for the benefit of a charity or public institution, including entertainment and the sale of goods; a bazaar: a church fair.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Beautiful, of a pleasing appearance, with a pure and fresh quality.
  • adj. Unblemished (figuratively or literally); clean and pure; innocent.
  • adj. Light in color, pale, particularly as regards skin tone but also referring to blond hair.
  • adj. Just, equitable.
  • adj. Adequate, reasonable, or decent.
  • adj. Favorable to a ship's course.
  • adj. Between the baselines.
  • n. Something which is fair (in various senses of the adjective).
  • n. A woman, a member of the ‘fair sex’; also as a collective singular, women.
  • v. To smoothen or even a surface (especially a connection or junction on a surface).
  • v. To bring into perfect alignment (especially about rivet holes when connecting structural members).
  • v. To construct or design a structure whose primary function is to produce a smooth outline or reduce air drag or water resistance.
  • v. To make fair.
  • n. A community gathering to celebrate and exhibit local achievements.
  • n. An event for public entertainment and trade, a market.
  • n. An event for professionals in a trade to learn of new products and do business.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Free from spots, specks, dirt, or imperfection; unblemished; clean; pure.
  • adj. Pleasing to the eye; handsome; beautiful.
  • adj. Without a dark hue; light; clear.
  • adj. Not overcast; cloudless; clear; pleasant; propitious; favorable; -- said of the sky, weather, or wind, etc.
  • adj. Free from obstacles or hindrances; unobstructed; unincumbered; open; direct; -- said of a road, passage, etc.
  • adj. Without sudden change of direction or curvature; smooth; flowing; -- said of the figure of a vessel, and of surfaces, water lines, and other lines.
  • adj. Characterized by frankness, honesty, impartiality, or candor; open; upright; free from suspicion or bias; equitable; just; -- said of persons, character, or conduct
  • adj. Pleasing; favorable; inspiring hope and confidence; -- said of words, promises, etc.
  • adj. Distinct; legible.
  • adj. Free from any marked characteristic; average; middling.
  • adv. Clearly; openly; frankly; civilly; honestly; favorably; auspiciously; agreeably.
  • n. Fairness, beauty.
  • n. A fair woman; a sweetheart.
  • n. Good fortune; good luck.
  • n. A gathering of buyers and sellers, assembled at a particular place with their merchandise at a stated or regular season, or by special appointment, for trade.
  • n. A festival, and sale of fancy articles. erc., usually for some charitable object.
  • n. A competitive exhibition of wares, farm products, etc., not primarily for purposes of sale
  • n. an exhibition by a number of organizations, including governmental organizations, for the purpose of acquainting people with such organizations or their members, not primarily for commercial purposes
  • transitive v. To make fair or beautiful.
  • transitive v. To make smooth and flowing, as a vessel's lines.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Beautiful; comely; free from disfigurement or incongruity; pleasing to the eye: as, a fair landscape.
  • Free from imperfections or blemish; pure, clean, unspotted, untarnished, etc.; free from anything that might impair the appearance, quality, or character; not foul: as, a fair copy; fair skies; fair fame.
  • Of a light hue; clear in color; not dusky or sallow; not discolored: as, a fair skin or complexion; fair hair; the English are a fair race.
  • Free from obscurity or doubt; clear; distinct; positive; direct: as, to get a fair view of a prospect; to take a fair aim.
  • Marked by favoring conditions; affording ample facility or advantage; unobstructed; favorable: as, a fair field and no favor; a fair mark; in a fair way to success; a fair subject of ridicule.
  • Comparatively favorable or propitious; not obstructive or forbidding; moderately fit or suitable: as, fair weather (as distinguished from clear or foul weather).
  • Free from guile, harm, or injustice; not wrongful, erroneous, or blameworthy; impartial; honest; equitable: used both of persons and of things: as, fair dealing; a fair debater; a fair decision.
  • Comparatively good or satisfactory; passably or moderately good; free from serious defect; not undesirable, but not excellent: as, a fair income; a fair appearance; he bears a fair reputation.
  • Of favorable bearing or import; manifesting or expressing proper feelings or intentions; not harsh or repellent; plausible: as, a fair seeming; to be fair in speech.
  • Gracious; kind.
  • Level; parallel, as a wall.
  • Blond, etc. See white.
  • Open, Frank, etc. See candid.
  • n. A fair or beautiful woman; in general, a woman, especially a beloved woman.
  • n. Fairness; beauty.
  • Kindly; civilly; complaisantly; courteously.
  • Honorably; honestly.
  • Auspiciously; favorably; happily.
  • Fairly; clearly.
  • Correctly; straight or direct, as in aiming or hitting.
  • To make fair or beautiful.
  • Nautical, to adjust; make regular, or fair and smooth; specifically, to form in correct shape, as the timbers of a ship.
  • To become fair or beautiful.
  • To clear up; cease raining: applied to the weather, in reference to preceding rain: followed commonly by up or off.
  • Same as fare.
  • n. A stated market in a particular town or city; a regular meeting of buyers and sellers for trade.
  • n. An occasional joint exhibition of articles for sale or inspection; a sale or an exhibition of goods for the promotion of some public interest or the aid of some public charity (see bazaar, 2): as, an agricultural fair; a church fair.
  • n. Market; chance of selling.
  • n. Doing; action; affair.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a traveling show; having sideshows and rides and games of skill etc.
  • adj. (of a baseball) hit between the foul lines
  • adv. without favoring one party, in a fair evenhanded manner
  • adj. free from favoritism or self-interest or bias or deception; conforming with established standards or rules
  • adv. in conformity with the rules or laws and without fraud or cheating
  • n. a competitive exhibition of farm products
  • v. join so that the external surfaces blend smoothly
  • adj. gained or earned without cheating or stealing
  • adj. free of clouds or rain
  • adj. (of a manuscript) having few alterations or corrections
  • adj. attractively feminine
  • adj. very pleasing to the eye
  • n. a sale of miscellany; often for charity
  • adj. not excessive or extreme
  • adj. lacking exceptional quality or ability
  • adj. (used of hair or skin) pale or light-colored
  • n. gathering of producers to promote business

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English fæger, lovely, pleasant.
Middle English faire, from Old French feire, from Late Latin fēria, sing. of Latin fēriae, holidays; see dhēs- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English fæġer, from Proto-Germanic *fagraz. Cognate with Norwegian fager, Swedish fager. (Wiktionary)
From Old French feire, from Latin fēriae. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The merchant was generally offered a fair price for his bread or corn, and if he refused to accept it, rioters seized the goods, distributed them, and left the “fair” price in exchange.

    1753

  • "None deserve the fair but the _brave_ [_deserve the fair_."] "They postpone the thing which [_they ought to do, and do not] but_ which [_thing_] they cannot avoid purposing to do."

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

  • He objects to the expression, "eyes so fair," saying _fair_ is a bad word for eyes.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 104, June, 1866

  • Daura, my daughter, thou wert fair, —fair as the moon on Fura, white as the driven snow, sweet as the breathing gale.

    The Editor to the Reader

  • River, which has since been "improved" out of existence, -- was a favorite place of resort with my old friend and his fair companion -- _fair_, no doubt she was, albeit her beauty was hidden from the vulgar gaze in the manner already indicated.

    Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed Gentleman

  • Mr. Vincent will be left in the lurch; he will not even have the lady's fair hand -- her _fair_ heart is

    Tales and Novels — Volume 03

  • English Clay had never considered the matter in this view before; but now it was pointed out, he confessed it struck him as _very fair -- very fair_: and his pride, of which he had a comfortable portion, being now touched, he asserted both his disinterestedness and his right to judge and choose in this business entirely for himself.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 07

  • I. i.10 (396,5) Fair is foul, and foul is fair] I believe the meaning is, that _to us_, perverse and malignant as we are, _fair is foul, and foul is fair_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • Here we are four years later, and President Obama on Tuesday night linked the term "fair" to U.S. tax and economic policy seven times.

    The Buffett Ruse

  • Synder's tax plan may be simple and efficient, but the word fair means different things to different people.

    Paul Ruth: To Give or Not to Give, Is That Really the Question?

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