The Meaning of Au Pair: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of au pair? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word au pair, including its definition, etymology, usage, examples, and more!

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What does the term au pair mean?

According to What’s In Sight, the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, an au pair is a young person from another nation who lives with a family and assists with child care to learn the language of the country and to receive accommodation and pocket money in exchange for taking care of the children. This usually takes place through a cultural exchange program. The au pair must come from a different country from the host family, and usually receives between $100-$200 per week. This may seem like a small amount, but their food and accommodations are covered. This is meant to be pocket money, not a large sum for living arrangements. Many countries offer a separate au pair visa. 

Instead of a language course and homework, the au pair travels to the foreign country, known as the host country, and receives lodging and food in exchange for light housework like laundry and full-time childcare. This reciprocal arrangement allows for the young foreign visitor to learn language skills with low fees. The age range is usually between 18-25 years old, ranging from late teens to early twenties. They also get a small weekly stipend for personal use. The program duration ccanna vary depending on government restrictions and visa length. An au pair girl or other young foreigner may receive a share of the family food and learn the language of the host country while taking care of children. 

Being an au pair is not easy work, but it can be very rewarding. It is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a culture. Being an au pair is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if you are looking to do something on a gap year or after college, it is a great option.

The term au pair literally translates from French as “on equal footing” meaning that this caring relationship between the guest single girl and the host family is on an equal basis, like an exchange. According to Au Pair Bulgaria, this term began to be used over 100 years ago when German and English girls went to France to stay at the homes of relatives or friends to study the French language, experience the culture, and learn about the lifestyle. In exchange for the hospitality and food, the girls helped with the childcare and chores. After World War I in C20, this idea developed into an efficient way of reconciliation of the European countries tired of wars. From there, it grew into an irreplaceable opportunity for studying a foreign language/culture in a family environment with minimum expenses. In 1969, the European Agreement of Au-Pair Placement appeared which was ratified by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

What are synonyms of au pair?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word au pair. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Synonyms are a great way to expand your English language vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word au pair is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  chaperon
  •  even
  •  body man
  •  commensurate
  •  bodyguard
  •  care taker
  •  upper hand
  •  boy
  •  babysitter
  •  maidservant
  •  hired girl
  •  on a par
  •  care giver
  •  as an equal
  •  batman
  •  home help
  •  cleaning person
  •  coachman
  •  domestic
  •  beau
  •  bird dog
  •  boots
  •  housekeeper
  •  good deed
  •  bai
  •  cleaning lady
  •  caravan
  •  carer
  •  bedder
  •  assistant
  •  biddy
  •  ace in the hole
  •  chokra
  •  charlady
  •  baby-sitter
  •  alike
  •  butler
  •  caretaker
  •  be of use
  •  be of service to
  •  manna from heaven
  •  help
  •  climber
  •  cleaner
  •  domestics
  •  par
  •  housemaid
  •  stroke of luck
  •  dry nurse
  •  day care provider
  •  companion
  •  charwoman
  •  hired help
  •  abigail
  •  nurserymaid
  •  caregiver
  •  cleaning woman
  •  live-in nanny
  •  woman
  •  day-care provider
  •  childcarer
  •  ayah
  •  sitter
  •  aide
  •  childminder
  •  be in cahoots
  •  nursemaid
  •  cavalier
  •  good fortune
  •  be of assistance to
  •  bearer
  •  be of use to
  •  wench
  •  amah
  •  aide-de-camp
  •  handmaiden
  •  be of advantage
  •  be of assistance
  •  live-in
  •  domestic worker
  •  child-care worker
  •  governess
  •  chambermaid
  •  nurse
  •  alarm clock
  •  char
  •  daily
  •  nanny
  •  chaperone
  •  attendant
  •  domestic servant
  •  nurser
  •  adviser
  •  auxiliary
  •  guardian
  •  servant
  •  girl
  •  attendant company
  •  maid

What are translations of au pair?

Many different languages also contain words that mean au pair. You may notice that some of these words look very similar to one another. These are called cognates. Cognates are words and phrases that look and sound similar between languages while also meaning something similar. These are often formed when two words have the same language of origin or root. This list of translations of au pair is provided by Word Sense

  •  Portuguese: au pair‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: au pair‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: daltag‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: (no exact term exists) помо́щница по хозя́йству‎ (fem.), ня́ня‎ (fem.), о-пе́р‎ (masc.), о-пе́р‎ (masc.) (f) (indeclinable), о-пэ́р‎ (masc.) (f) (indeclinable)
  •  Japanese: オーペア‎ (ōpea), オペア‎ (opea)
  •  Polish: au pair‎
  •  French: fille au pair‎
  •  Mandarin: (no exact term exists) 保姆‎ (bǎomǔ), 互惠生‎ (hùhuìshēng)
  •  Finnish: au pair‎
  •  Spanish: de au pair‎
  •  Korean: 오페어‎ (ope-eo)
  •  Norwegian: au pair‎
  •  Dutch: au pair‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Au-pair‎ (neut.), Au-pair-Mädchen‎ (neut.), Au-pair-Junge‎ (masc.)

Overall, the French term au pair means a young person who has traveled to a foregin country in order to live with a host family and learn the language. The host family provides accommodation and food in exchange for child care and some light housework. They also usually give a small monetary allowance. It is a great opportunity to learn about a different culture. 


  1. What Is An Au Pair|Au Pair Meaning & Average Pay | What’s In Sight 
  2. au pair: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. Au Pair synonyms – 303 Words and Phrases for Au Pair | Power Thesaurus 
  4. History | Au Pair BG