pale

2
[ peyl ]
/ peɪl /

noun

verb (used with object), paled, pal·ing.

to enclose with pales; fence.
to encircle or encompass.

Idioms for pale

    beyond the pale, beyond the limits of propriety, courtesy, protection, safety, etc.: Their public conduct is certainly beyond the pale.

Origin of pale

2
1300–50; Middle English (north), Old English pāl < Latin pālus stake. See peel3, pole1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for beyond the pale (1 of 2)

pale1
/ (peɪl) /

adjective

verb

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

Derived forms of pale

palely, adverbpaleness, noun

Word Origin for pale

C13: from Old French palle, from Latin pallidus pale, from pallēre to look wan

British Dictionary definitions for beyond the pale (2 of 2)

pale2
/ (peɪl) /

noun

verb

(tr) to enclose with pales

Word Origin for pale

C14: from Old French pal, from Latin pālus stake; compare pole 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for beyond the pale

beyond the pale

Totally unacceptable: “His business practices have always been questionable, but this last takeover was beyond the pale.” The Pale in Ireland was a territorial limit beyond which English rule did not extend.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with beyond the pale (1 of 2)

beyond the pale

Outside the bounds of morality, good behavior or judgment; unacceptable. For example, She thought taking the boys to a topless show was beyond the pale. The noun pale, from the Latin palum, meant “a stake for fences” or “a fence made from such stakes.” By extension it came to be used for an area confined by a fence and for any boundary, limit, or restriction, both of these meanings dating from the late 1300s. The pale referred to in the idiom is usually taken to mean the English Pale, the part of Ireland under English rule, and therefore, as perceived by its rulers, within the bounds of civilization.

Idioms and Phrases with beyond the pale (2 of 2)

pale

see beyond the pale.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.