- (of a person or a person's skin)
- light-colored or lacking in color: a pale complexion; his pale face; a pale child.
- lacking the usual intensity of color due to fear, illness, stress, etc.:She looked pale and unwell when we visited her in the nursing home.
- of a low degree of chroma, saturation, or purity; approaching white or gray: pale yellow.
- not bright or brilliant; dim: the pale moon.
- faint or feeble; lacking vigor: a pale protest.
- to become pale: to pale at the sight of blood.
- to seem less important, remarkable, etc., especially when compared with something else: Platinum is so rare that even gold pales in comparison.
- to make pale.
Origin of pale1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for palest
“Her paintings and paints in the palest colors, and simplest shapes, pretty much covered the studio,” Bradlee wrote.The Bizarre Tale of Ben Bradlee, JFK, and the Master Spy
October 22, 2014
“Krush” (Karl-as-Rush) was the palest simulacrum of a Rush Limbaugh.Rove Bombs as Rush
August 9, 2010
You saw her hair as far as you could see her sex, and knew that it was the palest brown.A Pair of Blue Eyes
It was the palest of all—paler even than Archer's name, which was below it.The Pit Prop Syndicate
Freeman Wills Crofts
It is very beautiful—of palest brown, like coffee ice-cream.Peggy in Her Blue Frock
Eliza Orne White
The palest, loveliest pink you can imagine, and no end of lace.Floyd Grandon's Honor
Amanda Minnie Douglas
"Yes," said Lance, with the faintest of smiles on the palest of faces.Flip: A California Romance
- lacking brightness of colour; whitishpale morning light
- (of a colour) whitish; produced by a relatively small quantity of colouring agent
- dim or wanthe pale stars
- feeblea pale effort
- Southern African a euphemism for White
- to make or become pale or paler; blanch
- (intr often foll by before) to lose superiority or importance (in comparison to)her beauty paled before that of her hostess
- a wooden post or strip used as an upright member in a fence
- an enclosing barrier, esp a fence made of pales
- an area enclosed by a pale
- a sphere of activity within which certain restrictions are applied
- heraldry an ordinary consisting of a vertical stripe, usually in the centre of a shield
- beyond the pale outside the limits of social convention
- (tr) to enclose with pales
Word Origin and History for palest
early 14c., from Old French paile "pale, light-colored" (12c., Modern French pâle), from Latin pallidus "pale, pallid, wan, colorless," from pallere "be pale, grow pale," from PIE *pel- (2) "pale" (see pallor). Pale-face, supposed North American Indian word for "European," is attested from 1822.
early 13c. (c.1200 in Anglo-Latin), "stake, pole, stake for vines," from Old French pal and directly from Latin palus "stake, prop, wooden post," related to pangere "to fix or fasten" (see pact).
From late 14c. as "fence of pointed stakes;" figurative sense of "limit, boundary, restriction" is from c.1400. Barely surviving in beyond the pale and similar phrases. Meaning "the part of Ireland under English rule" is from 1540s, via sense of "territory held by power of a nation or people" (mid-15c.).
late 14c., "become pale; appear pale" (also, in Middle English, "to make pale"), from Old French paleir (12c.) or from pale (adj.). Related: Paled; paling.
Idioms and Phrases with palest
see beyond the pale.