fair1 (fâr) KEY
faired, fair·ing, fairs
fair off Chiefly Southern U.S. or up
fair and square
Middle English, from Old English fæger, lovely, pleasant
fair1, just1, equitable, impartial, unprejudiced, unbiased, objective, dispassionate
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. Dispassionate means free from or unaffected by strong emotions: a dispassionate reporter. See also Synonyms at average, beautiful.
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.