Language: Old English
Origin: fæger 'beautiful'


1 adjective
Related topics: Nature
fair1 S1 W2

reasonable and acceptable

a fair situation, system, way of treating people, or judgment seems reasonable, acceptable, and right [≠ unfair]:
All we are asking for is a fair wage.
£150 is a fair price.
fair trial/hearing
the right to a fair trial
What do you think is the fairest solution?
The report is a fair summary of the issues facing us.
it is fair to do something
It seems fair to give them a second chance.
it's only fair (that) (=used to say that it is right to do something)
It's only fair that we tell him what's happening.
it's fair to say (that) (=used when you think what you are saying is correct or reasonable)
It's fair to say that by then he had lost the support of his staff.
it's not fair on somebody
I can't carry on working such long hours. It's not fair on my family.

treating everyone equally

treating everyone in a way that is right or equal [≠ unfair]:
Why does Eric get to go and I don't? It's not fair!
Life isn't always fair.
fair to
The old law wasn't fair to women.
it's only fair (that)
You pay him $10 an hour - it's only fair that I should get the same.
My boss expects a lot - but he's very fair.

quite large

a fair size/amount/number/bit/distance etc

especially British English quite a large size, number etc:
I've still got a fair amount of work left to do.
We had travelled a fair way (=quite a long distance) by lunch time.
there's a fair chance (that)/of something (=it is quite likely that something will happen)
There's a fair chance we'll be coming over to England this summer.


someone who is fair, or who has fair hair or skin, has hair or skin that is very light in colour [≠ dark]

according to the rules

a fair fight, game, or election is one that is played or done according to the rules [≠ unfair]

level of ability

neither particularly good nor particularly bad [= average]:
Her written work is excellent but her practical work is only fair.


DN weather that is fair is pleasant and not windy, rainy etc [= fine]:
It should be generally fair and warm for the next few days.

have had more than your fair share of something

to have had more of something, especially something unpleasant, than seems reasonable:
Poor old Alan! He's had more than his fair share of bad luck recently.

give somebody a fair crack of the whip

British English informal to give someone the opportunity to do something, especially so that they can show that they are able to do it

give somebody/get a fair shake

American English informal to treat someone, or to be treated, in a way that gives everyone the same chances as everyone else:
Women don't always get a fair shake in business.

by fair means or foul

using any method to get what you want, including dishonest or illegal methods

all's fair in love and war

used to say that in some situations any method of getting what you want is acceptable


old use or literary pleasant and attractive:
a fair maiden
14 spoken

fair enough

especially British English used to say that you agree with someone's suggestion or that something seems reasonable [= OK]:
'I think we should split the bill.' 'Fair enough.'
15 spoken

to be fair

used when adding something after someone has been criticized, which helps to explain or excuse what they did [= in fairness]:
She should have phoned to tell us what her plans were although, to be fair, she's been very busy.
16 spoken

be fair!

especially British English used to tell someone not to be unreasonable or criticize someone too much:
Now Pat, be fair, the poor girl's trying her hardest!
17 spoken

fair's fair

used when you think it is fair that someone should do something, especially because of something that has happened earlier:
Come on, fair's fair - I paid last time so it's your turn.
18 spoken

fair comment

British English used to say that a remark or criticism seems reasonable
19 spoken

you can't say fairer than that

British English used to say that an offer you are making to someone is the best and fairest offer they can possibly get:
I'll give you £25 for it - you can't say fairer than that, can you?
20 spoken

it's a fair cop

British English used humorously to admit that you should not be doing something that someone has caught you doing
21 spoken

with your own fair hands

British English if you do something with your own fair hands, you do it yourself without any help - used humorously

➔ have a fair idea of something

at idea
WORD FOCUS: weather WORD FOCUS: weather
good weather: sunny/fine used to describe weather or a day when there is a lot of sunshine
/lovely/glorious very sunny and good
if the weather is bright, the sun shines strongly
there isn't a cloud in the sky
the sky is completely clear
if the weather is dry, it does not rain
sunny and not windy or rainy - used especially in weather forecasts

rain: wet/rainy/damp used to describe weather or a day when there is a lot of rain
if the weather is unsettled, it keeps changing and it often rains
light rain which consists of very small drops of water
a short period of rain
a short period when it suddenly rains very heavily

it's pouring down British English/it's pouring rain American English it is raining very hard
it's drizzling
it is raining a little, with very small drops of rain

snow: snowy used to describe weather or a day when there is a lot of snow
a mixture of snow and rain
a mixture of partly melted snow and ice
/hailstones frozen drops of rain, that fall as drops of ice
a storm with a lot of snow and strong wind
white powder that covers the ground when it is cold

wind: windy used to describe a day or weather when there is a lot of wind
very windy

breeze a gentle pleasant wind
(in the Atlantic Ocean) /typhoon (in the Pacific Ocean) a violent storm with extremely strong winds

cloudy: cloudy used to describe weather or a day when there are a lot of clouds in the sky
/dull cloudy and not bright
if the sky is overcast, it is very cloudy and dark, and it is likely to rain
not clear, especially because there is a slight mist caused by heat or smoke

hot: boiling/scorching/sizzling/blazing/burning/baking/broiling (hot) extremely hot
very hot and humid
a little hot, in a way that is pleasant
pleasantly warm, with a gentle wind blowing
a period of unusually hot weather

cold: freezing (cold) extremely cold
extremely cold, usually with a lot of ice and snow
cold and snowy or rainy, like the weather in winter
if the air is crisp, it feels cold but pleasantly fresh and clear
a little too cold, in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
a little cold, in a way that is pleasant
cold snap
/cold spell a period of unusually cold weather

See also

Dictionary results for "fair"
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