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 girl’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘Although au pairs are legally allowed to work 25 hours a week, Jana found herself rather busier than that.’
    • ‘In other cases, women answered advertisements by foreign tour operators or employment agencies looking for au pairs, models, housekeepers and waitresses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One day, you see a want ad in your local newspaper: ‘Agency seeking young women to work as au pairs.’’
    • ‘Every woman boss depends on au pairs, nannies, cleaners, cooks and women who do the ironing.’
    • ‘I wandered along the landing and there at the bottom, because I had a little baby then, were our two Spanish au pairs.’
    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/