- (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 for pale on Thesaurus.com
- a stake or picket, as of a fence.
- an enclosing or confining barrier; enclosure.
- an enclosed area.
- limits; bounds: outside the pale of his jurisdiction.
- a district or region within designated bounds.
- (initial capital letter) Also called English Pale, Irish Pale. a district in eastern Ireland included in the Angevin Empire of King Henry II and his successors.
- an ordinary in the form of a broad vertical stripe at the center of an escutcheon.
- Shipbuilding. a shore used inside to support the deck beams of a hull under construction.
- to enclose with pales; fence.
- to encircle or encompass.
- beyond the pale, beyond the limits of propriety, courtesy, protection, safety, etc.: Their public conduct is certainly beyond the pale.
Origin of pale2
Examples from the Web for pales
But that pales in comparison to the biggest alteration—the ending.The Unbelievable (True) Story of the World’s Most Infamous Hash Smuggler
November 14, 2014
The violence in Libya pales in comparison with the thousands of civilians who have fallen in Mexico.Obama's Mexico Standoff
John M. Ackerman
March 2, 2011
All this pales, of course, to the case of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback “Big Ben” Roethlisberger.The NFL's Brett Favre Disaster
January 5, 2011
It also pales in comparison to the $303 billion in total annual private giving by U.S. citizens.Where the Billions Will Go
August 6, 2010
I think that whatever this book may accomplish, it pales in comparison to that.My Murder in the Heart of Africa
May 28, 2009
For pales and weather boards this varnish is superior to paint, and much cheaper than what is commonly used for that purpose.
Pales before the drastic preachment of the Norwich scientist.
It is not right to live the slave of Pales, or become the rhapsode of docks and nettles.Apologia Diffidentis
W. Compton Leith
Splash and hiss comes the water; pales, then flares out, the fire!The Caxtons, Complete
Pales, protectress of flocks, gives her name to the Palatine Hill.Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 1
Francis Marion Crawford
- 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 pales
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 pales
see beyond the pale.