Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To remove the outer covering or skin of with a knife or similar instrument: pare apples.
  • transitive v. To remove by or as if by cutting, clipping, or shaving: pared off the excess dough.
  • transitive v. To reduce as if by cutting off outer parts; trim: pare expenses from the monthly budget.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to remove the outer covering or skin of something with a cutting device, typically a knife
  • v. to reduce, diminish or trim gradually something as if by cutting off
  • v. to trim the hoof of a horse

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To cut off, or shave off, the superficial substance or extremities of
  • transitive v. To remove; to separate; to cut or shave, as the skin, rind, or outside part, from anything; -- followed by off or away.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To diminish the bulk of; to reduce; to lessen.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To trim by cutting or shaving off thin slices or flakes from the surface or the extremities: as, to pare an apple; to pare a horse's hoof, or one's nails; to pare old or worn-out grass-land.
  • To reduce by cutting away superficial parts; diminish by little and little; cut down.
  • To remove by or as by cutting, clipping, or shaving: with off or away: as, to pare off the rind of fruit; to pare away redundancies.
  • Synonyms Pare, Peel, Shave off. To pare is to remove the surface only with a knife or similar instrument; to peel is to pull off the skin or rind. “That is peeled which is deprived of a natural layer or integument spread over it.” (C. J. Smith, Synonyms Discriminated, p. 603.) The figurative uses of these two words are limited. Shave or shave off still seems figurative when not implying the use of a razor, and is controlled in its meaning by that original sense; hence it is always limited to dressing off the surface.
  • n. An obsolete form of. pair.
  • n. Among the Maoris of New Zealand, the carved ornament or ornamentation about a door.

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

  • v. decrease gradually or bit by bit
  • v. cut small bits or pare shavings from
  • v. strip the skin off
  • v. remove the edges from and cut down to the desired size

Etymologies

Middle English paren, from Old French parer, to prepare, trim, from Latin parāre, to prepare; see perə-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French parer "arrange, prepare, trim", from Latin parare "make ready" (related to parere "produce, bring forth"), from a Proto-Indo-European *per- (“to bring forward, bring forth”). -f- (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Still, we will again pare away your illogic and help you out with your argument.

    On Sophistry and Subjectivity

  • For what screenwriter and director Rawson Marshall Thurber (“Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”) has done is to pare from the novel all nuance.

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

  • Maybe I'm overreacting to all the reading lists of late, and I'll buy the different audiences argument, but would like to see Van Gelder if it's his call pare things back and push more stories over reviews.

    Dear readers...

  • And as regular CD sales continue to fall and major recording labels pare their artist rosters, up-and-coming musicians have to find ways to promote themselves in ways that were unheard of a few years ago.

    Newsvine - Get Smarter Here

  • WHITFIELD: So in a moment I want to ask you, you know, how you kind of pare it down.

    CNN Transcript Sep 26, 2009

  • You know, just kind of pare phrase different thing.

    CNN Transcript Apr 29, 2009

  • Despite these high gas prices, do you think people are going to kind of pare it off, maybe they're not going to hit the road as much, or is it still cheaper to drive than it is for a family to fly?

    CNN Transcript Apr 13, 2008

  • A few minutes more and they came on a "pare" of men (in other words, a band of two or more men working together) who were "stopeing-in the back of the level," as they termed the process of cutting upwards into the roof.

    Deep Down, a Tale of the Cornish Mines

  • "James Penrose's _late_ pitch," read the manager, giving the details of it in terms somewhat similar to those already sett, and stating that the required "pare," or force to be put on it, was two men and a boy.

    Deep Down, a Tale of the Cornish Mines

  • One of the mine captains stood at his elbow to give any required information -- he and his three brother captains being the men who had gone all over the mine during the previous month, examined the work, measured what had been done by each man or "pare" of men, knew the capabilities of all the miners, and fixed the portion that ought to be offered to each for acceptance or refusal.

    Deep Down, a Tale of the Cornish Mines

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