#112 – TO PAIR OFF

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1. When two people get together and start a romantic or sexual relationship. (We usually use this to talk about other people’s behaviour, not our own). E.g. “I’m in my 30s now and all my friends seem to be pairing off and getting married, but I’m still single” -to pair off
2. -to pair someone off with someone = to try and make two people start having a romantic or sexual relationship together. “I think your wife is trying to pair me off with her friend”.

Hello everyone, this is Luke Thompson. You’re listening to “A Phrasal Verb a Day”, and today’s phrasal verb is TO PAIR OFF, PAIR OFF. Pair is spelt P A I R. Pair meaning, you know, like a pair of people, meaning two and usually we use this to talk about people and if you say that two people PAIR OFF or if people start PAIRING OFF, it means that two people get together and start a romantic or sexual relationship with each other. So, for example “all of our friends seem to be PAIRING OFF”, like “You get into your thirties and suddenly all your friends start PAIRING OFF and then getting married and then having kids”. So, there you can see that to PAIR OFF means to get together with someone else, start a relationship, you know, like a romantic relationship.
We don’t usually use PAIR OFF to talk about ourselves. You don’t say, for example, “I’m hoping to PAIR OFF with someone”. You don’t normally use it like that. Instead you use it to talk about other people. You know, like, “On holiday, we went on holiday and me and my… a group of my male friends went on holiday, and we met up with this group of girls and by the end of the holiday we’d all PAIRED OFF”. Everyone had PAIRED OFF with someone, meaning that everyone had got together with someone else. “All of our friends seem to be PAIRING OFF.” Also, “you can PAIR somebody OFF”, as well. That means make or get two people together because you want them to have a relationship. For example, then you would say, you know, “My friends PAIRED me OFF with this girl”, meaning my friends got me and the girl together. Okay? It’s a bit like “to hook someone up”, to PAIR someone OFF. So, there you go. “All of our friends started PAIRING OFF”, that means that our friends started to, sort of, like, getting to romantic relationships. Or “Everyone was trying to PAIR me OFF with this girl”, means that everyone was trying to get me to start a relationship with this girl.

Okay? That’s the end of this short episode. I’ll speak to you again soon but for now – goodbye.

  • Zdim

    When I attended primary school, all of my mates tend to pair me off with the girl I, to be honest, didn’t find so much unsymathetic. As I look back I repent of not having hooked up with her at the first opportunity.