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


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)


  • 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.


  • "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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