Definition of au pair in English:

au pair

noun

  • A young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money.

    as modifier ‘an au pair agency’
    • ‘The number of women employing au pairs, window cleaners and gardeners has increased by only 7.9 per cent in the past five years.’
    • ‘As more women have sought full-time careers, various alternative forms of domestic assistance have developed, consisting of armies of contract cleaners, childminders, nannies and au pairs.’
    • ‘I wandered along the landing and there at the bottom, because I had a little baby then, were our two Spanish au pairs.’
    • ‘Every woman boss depends on au pairs, nannies, cleaners, cooks and women who do the ironing.’
    • ‘Although au pairs are legally allowed to work 25 hours a week, Jana found herself rather busier than that.’
    • ‘One day, you see a want ad in your local newspaper: ‘Agency seeking young women to work as au pairs.’’
    • ‘A non-commercial association of agencies within the UK working to ensure a high standard of services to families and au pairs.’
    • ‘‘Nannies and au pairs don't have the same authority as you, and you need to keep close to adolescent changes, ‘she said.’’
    • ‘In other cases, women answered advertisements by foreign tour operators or employment agencies looking for au pairs, models, housekeepers and waitresses.’
    female servant, maidservant, housemaid, parlourmaid, serving maid, lady's maid, chambermaid, maid-of-all-work, domestic, drudge, menial
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 19th century: from French, literally ‘on equal terms’. The phrase was originally adjectival, describing an arrangement between two parties paid for by the exchange of mutual services; the noun usage dates from the 1960s.

Pronunciation

au pair

/əʊ ˈpɛː/