Au pair

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The term au pair has its roots in the French language, and may be confusing. We will examine the definition of the term au pair, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

An au pair is a young person who travels to a foreign country to live with a family with children. The young person provides childcare and light housework in exchange for a room, meals, and pocket money. It is a way for young people to learn about a different country and practice a foreign language, while in a relatively safe setting. Au pairs are usually female, and range in age from late teens to twenties. Many countries have au pair programs that match young people with host families. The term au pair came into use in the mid-1800s to signify that the relationship between the au pair and host family was one of equals. Au pair means on par. The term au pair came into use as a noun in the 1960s, the plural form is au pairs.


The Home Affairs Minister declared there was “defamatory” content in an Australian Associated Press report about his intervention in the case of the young au pair when asked about it in Question Time today. (The Daily Telegraph)

It has underfloor heating upstairs and down, a sauna in an attic room next to an au pair’s en suite bedroom, a built-in coffee machine in the kitchen, central vacuuming and a large walk-in wardrobe in the main bedroom. (The Irish Times)

He was a 24-year-old student; she was a 21-year-old au pair, and several stations went by before Serge could muster the courage to speak to Beate, who could barely speak French back then. (The Seattle Times)