definition of fair by The Free Dictionary

fair 1


adj. fair·er, fair·est

1. Of pleasing appearance, especially because of a pure or fresh quality; comely.


a. Light in color, especially blond: fair hair.

b. Of light complexion: fair skin.

3. Free of clouds or storms; clear and sunny: fair skies.

4. Free of blemishes or stains; clean and pure: one’s fair name.

5. Promising; likely: We’re in a fair way to succeed.


a. Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias; impartial: a fair mediator.

b. Just to all parties; equitable: a compromise that is fair to both factions.

7. Being in accordance with relative merit or significance: She wanted to receive her fair share of the proceeds.

8. Consistent with rules, logic, or ethics: a fair tactic.

9. Moderately good; acceptable or satisfactory: gave only a fair performance of the play; in fair health.

10. Superficially true or appealing; specious: Don’t trust his fair promises.

11. Lawful to hunt or attack: fair game.

12. Archaic Free of all obstacles.


1. In a proper or legal manner: playing fair.

2. Directly; straight: a blow caught fair in the stomach.

tr.v. faired, fair·ing, fairs

To join (pieces) so as to be smooth, even, or regular: faired the aircraft’s wing into the fuselage.


1. Archaic A beautiful or beloved woman.

2. Obsolete Loveliness; beauty.

Phrasal Verb:

fair off (or up)

Chiefly Southern US To become clear. Used of weather.


fair and square

Just and honest.

for fair

To the greatest or fullest extent possible: Our team was beaten for fair in that tournament.

no fair

Something contrary to the rules: That was no fair.

[Middle English, from Old English fæger, lovely, pleasant.]

fair′ness n.

Synonyms: fair1, just1, equitable, impartial, unprejudiced, unbiased, objective
These adjectives mean free from favoritism, self-interest, or preference in judgment. Fair is the most general: a fair referee; a fair deal. Just stresses conformity with what is legally or ethically right or proper: “a just and lasting peace” (Abraham Lincoln).
Equitable implies justice dictated by reason, conscience, and a natural sense of what is fair: an equitable distribution of gifts among the children. Impartial emphasizes lack of favoritism: “the cold neutrality of an impartial judge” (Edmund Burke).
Unprejudiced means without preconceived opinions or judgments: an unprejudiced evaluation of the proposal. Unbiased implies absence of a preference or partiality: gave an unbiased account of her family problems. Objective implies detachment that permits impersonal observation and judgment: an objective jury. See Also Synonyms at average, beautiful.

Our Living Language American folk speech puts Standard English to shame in its wealth of words for describing weather conditions. When the weather goes from fair to cloudy, New Englanders say that it’s “breedin’ up a storm” (Maine informant in the Linguistic Atlas of New England). If the weather is clear, however, a New Englander might call it open. Southern fair off and fair up, meaning “to become clear,” were originally Northeastern terms and were brought to the South as settlement expanded southward and westward. They are now “regionalized to the South,” according to Craig M. Carver, author of American Regional Dialects. These phrases may have prompted the coining of milding and milding down, noted respectively in Texas and Virginia by the Dictionary of American Regional English.

fair 2



1. A gathering held at a specified time and place for the buying and selling of goods; a market.

2. An exhibition, as of farm products or manufactured goods, usually accompanied by various competitions and entertainments: a state fair.

3. An exhibition intended to inform people about a product or business opportunity: a computer fair; a job fair.

4. An event, usually for the benefit of a charity or public institution, including entertainment and the sale of goods; a bazaar: a church fair.

[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, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. free from discrimination, dishonesty, etc; just; impartial

2. in conformity with rules or standards; legitimate: a fair fight.

3. (of the hair or complexion) light in colour

4. beautiful or lovely to look at

5. moderately or quite good: a fair piece of work.

6. unblemished; untainted

7. (Nautical Terms) (of the tide or wind) favourable to the passage of a vessel

8. (Physical Geography) sunny, fine, or cloudless

9. (prenominal) informal thorough; real: a fair battle to get to the counter.

10. pleasant or courteous

11. apparently good or valuable, but really false: fair words.

12. open or unobstructed: a fair passage.

13. Austral (of handwriting) clear and legible

14. a fair crack of the whip Austral a fair shake of the dice a fair go informal a fair opportunity; fair chance

15. fair and square in a correct or just way

16. fair do’s

a. equal shares or treatment

b. an expression of appeal for equal shares or treatment

17. fair enough! an expression of agreement

18. fair go! informal Austral and NZ come off it!; I don’t believe it!

19. fair to middling about average


20. in a fair way; correctly: act fair, now!.

21. absolutely or squarely; quite: the question caught him fair off his guard.

22. dialect really or very: fair tired.


(intr) dialect (of the weather) to become fine and mild


archaic a person or thing that is beautiful or valuable, esp a woman

[Old English fæger; related to Old Norse fagr, Old Saxon, Old High German fagar, Gothic fagrs suitable]

ˈfairness n




1. a travelling entertainment with sideshows, rides, etc, esp one that visits places at the same time each year

2. (Commerce) a gathering of producers of and dealers in a given class of products to facilitate business: a book fair.

3. an event including amusements and the sale of goods, esp for a charity; bazaar

4. a regular assembly at a specific place for the sale of goods, esp livestock

[C13: from Old French feire, from Late Latin fēria holiday, from Latin fēriae days of rest: related to festus festal]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



adj. and
adv. fair•er, fair•est.

1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice.

2. legitimately sought, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair fight.

3. moderately large; ample: a fair income.

4. neither excellent nor poor; moderately or tolerably good: fair health.


a. (of the sky) bright; sunny; cloudless to half-cloudy.

b. (of the weather) fine; with no prospect of rain, snow, or hail; not stormy.

6. of a light hue; not dark: fair skin.

7. pleasing in appearance; attractive: a fair young maiden.

8. (of a wind or tide) tending to aid the progress of a vessel.

9. marked by favoring conditions; likely; promising: in a fair way to succeed.

10. without irregularity or unevenness: a fair surface.

11. free from blemish.

12. courteous; civil: fair words.


13. in a fair manner: He doesn’t play fair.

14. favorably; auspiciously.


15. Archaic. something that is fair.

16. Archaic.

a. a woman.

b. a beloved woman.


17. to draw and adjust (the lines of a ship’s hull being designed) to produce regular surfaces of the correct form.


1. bid fair, to seem likely: This entry bids fair to win first prize.

2. fair and square,

a. honestly; justly.

b. honest; just; straightforward.

3. fair to middling, only tolerably good; so-so.

[before 900; Middle English; Old English fæger]

fair′ness, n.

syn: fair, impartial, disinterested refer to lack of bias in opinions, judgments, etc. fair implies the treating of all sides alike, justly and equitably: a fair compromise. impartial also implies showing no more favor to one side than another, but suggests particularly a judicial consideration of a case: an impartial judge. disinterested implies a fairness arising from lack of desire to obtain a selfish advantage: a disinterested concern that the best person win.




1. a usu. competitive exhibition of farm products, livestock, etc., often combined with entertainment and held annually by a county or state.

2. a periodic gathering of buyers and sellers in an appointed place.

3. an exposition in which different exhibitors participate, often with the purpose of buying or selling or of familiarizing the public with the products: a home-furnishings fair.

4. an exhibition and sale of articles to raise money, often for some charitable purpose.

[1300–50; Middle English feire fēria religious festival, holiday (Medieval Latin: market), in Latin only pl.; akin to feast]

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


– carnival

1. “”

In British English, a fair is an event held in a park or field at which people pay to ride on various machines for amusement or try to win prizes in games.

…all the fun of the fair, with dodgem cars, stalls, candy floss and children’s rides.

2. “”

In American English, an event like this is called a carnival.

It reminds me of when the carnival came to Hudson Falls, N.Y., when I was a boy.

In British English, a carnival is an outdoor public festival which is held every year in a particular place. During a carnival, music is played and people sometimes dance in the streets.

The Notting Hill Carnival in August is the largest street festival in Europe.


– fairly

1. “”

You say that behaviour or a decision is fair when it is reasonable, right, or just.

It wouldn’t be fair to disturb the children’s education at this stage.

Do you feel they’re paying their fair share?

2. “”

Don’t use “” as an adverb, except in the expression play fair. If you want to say that something is done in a reasonable or just way, the word you use is fairly.

We want it to be fairly distributed.

He had not explained things fairly.

Fairly also has a completely different meaning. It means ‘to quite a large degree’.

The information was fairly accurate.

I wrote the first part fairly quickly.

Be Careful!
Don’t use “” in front of a comparative form. Don’t say, for example, ‘The train is fairly quicker than the bus‘. In conversation and less formal writing, you say ‘The train is a bit quicker than the bus’.

Golf’s a bit more expensive.

I began to understand her a bit better.

Be Careful!
In more formal writing, you use rather or somewhat.

In short, the problems now look rather worse than they did a year ago.

The results were somewhat lower than expected.

Many other words and expressions can be used to show degree.


– fare

These words are both pronounced /feə/.

1. “”

Fair can be an adjective or a noun. If something is fair, it is reasonable, right, or just.

See fair – fairly

If someone is fair or has fair hair, they have light coloured hair.

My daughter has three children, and they’re all fair.

A fair is an event held in a park or field for people’s amusement.

We took the children to the fair.

2. “”

Your fare is the money you pay for a journey by bus, taxi, train, boat, or plane.

Coach fares are cheaper than rail fares.

Airline officials say they must raise fares in order to cover rising costs.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012

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