Fare and Fair

In an earlier post I was rereading the post and came across the word fair. Now I was not sure if I should use fair or fair. Well it turned out that fare was the word I was looking for but for such small words they have huge definitions. According to Dictionary.com fair has a gaggle of meanings:

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1)Cite This Source fair1/fɛər/ Pronunciation KeyShow Spelled Pronunciation[fair] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation adjective, -er, -est, adverb, -er, -est, noun, verb


1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
2. legitimately sought, pursued, 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.
5. marked by favoring conditions; likely; promising: in a fair way to succeed.
6. Meteorology.

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.
7. Nautical. (of a wind or tide) tending to aid the progress of a vessel.
8. unobstructed; not blocked up: The way was fair for our advance.
9. without irregularity or unevenness: a fair surface.
10. free from blemish, imperfection, or anything that impairs the appearance, quality, or character: Her fair reputation was ruined by gossip.
11. easy to read; clear: fair handwriting.
12. of a light hue; not dark: fair skin.
13. pleasing in appearance; attractive: a fair young maiden.
14. seemingly good or sincere but not really so: The suitor beguiled his mistress with fair speeches.
15. courteous; civil: fair words.
16. Medicine/Medical. (of a patient’s condition) having stable and normal vital signs and other favorable indicators, as appetite and mobility, but being in some discomfort and having the possibility of a worsening state.
17. Dialect. scarcely; barely: It was just fair daylight when we started working.


18. in a fair manner: He doesn’t play fair.
19. straight; directly, as in aiming or hitting: He threw the ball fair to the goal.
20. favorably; auspiciously.
21. British, Australian. entirely; completely; quite: It happened so quickly that it fair took my breath away.


22. Archaic. something that is fair.
23. Archaic.

a. a woman.
b. a beloved woman.

–verb (used with object)

24. to make the connection or junction of (surfaces) smooth and even.
25. Shipbuilding.

a. to draw and adjust (the lines of a hull being designed) to produce regular surfaces of the correct form.
b. to adjust the form of (a frame or templet) in accordance with a design, or cause it to conform to the general form of a hull.
c. to restore (a bent plate or structural member) to its original form.
d. to align (the frames of a vessel under construction) in proper position.
26. to bring (rivet holes in connecting structural members) into perfect alignment.
27. Obsolete. to make fair.

28. fair off or up, South Midland and Southern U.S.. (of the weather) to clear: It’s supposed to fair off toward evening.

29. fair to middling, Informal. only tolerably good; so-so.
30. bid fair, to seem likely: This entry bids fair to win first prize.
31. fair and square,

a. honestly; justly; straightforwardly: He won the race fair and square.
b. honest; just; straightforward: He was admired for being fair and square in all his dealings.

[Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE fæger; c. OS, OHG fagar, ON fagr, Goth fagrs]


and it continues. Of course that is the wrong fair. I wanted this fare:

fare/fɛər/ Pronunciation KeyShow Spelled Pronunciation[fair] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, fared, far‧ing.


1. the price of conveyance or passage in a bus, train, airplane, or other vehicle.
2. a person or persons who pay to be conveyed in a vehicle; paying passenger.
3. a person who hires a public vehicle and its driver.
4. food; diet: hearty fare.
5. something offered to the public, for entertainment, enjoyment, consumption, etc.: literary fare.
6. Archaic. state of things.

–verb (used without object)

7. to experience good or bad fortune, treatment, etc.; get on: He fared well in his profession.
8. to go; turn out; happen (used impersonally): It fared ill with him.
9. to go; travel.
10. to eat and drink: They fared sumptuously.

[Origin: bef. 1000; ME faren, OE faran; c. G fahren, ON fara, Goth faran; akin to emporium, port5, pram2]

and that definition continues.

What I do like is this little statement at the end:

Regional Note: 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.

Leave it up to us to mess with the English language.

2 thoughts on “Fare and Fair

  1. Lorraine

    …and I thought I was the only nerd who looked things up in the dictionnary. Snif, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. You know Ben never looks up a word.


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