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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.
Contemporary Examples

In his beyond-the-pale derision and offensiveness, he turned it into a night that could never have been an Oscar ceremony.
The Gaudy, Gauche and Sometimes Corrupt Greatness of the Golden Globes Richard Rushfield January 15, 2012

lacking brightness of colour; whitish: pale morning light
(of a colour) whitish; produced by a relatively small quantity of colouring agent
dim or wan: the pale stars
feeble: a pale effort
(South African) a euphemism for White
to make or become pale or paler; blanch
(intransitive) 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
(transitive) to enclose with 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.
see: beyond the pale


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