beyond the pale
Pale Pale, n. [F. pal, fr. L. palus: cf. D. paal. See {Pole} a stake, and 1st {Pallet}.] 1. A pointed stake or slat, either driven into the ground, or fastened to a rail at the top and bottom, for fencing or inclosing; a picket. [1913 Webster]

Deer creep through when a pale tumbles down. --Mortimer. [1913 Webster]

2. That which incloses or fences in; a boundary; a limit; a fence; a palisade. ``Within one pale or hedge.'' --Robynson (More's Utopia). [1913 Webster]

3. A space or field having bounds or limits; a limited region or place; an inclosure; -- often used figuratively. ``To walk the studious cloister's pale.'' --Milton. ``Out of the pale of civilization.'' --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

4. Hence: A region within specified bounds, whether or not enclosed or demarcated. [PJC]

5. A stripe or band, as on a garment. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

6. (Her.) One of the greater ordinaries, being a broad perpendicular stripe in an escutcheon, equally distant from the two edges, and occupying one third of it. [1913 Webster]

7. A cheese scoop. --Simmonds. [1913 Webster]

8. (Shipbuilding) A shore for bracing a timber before it is fastened. [1913 Webster]

{English pale}, {Irish pale} (Hist.), the limits or territory in Eastern Ireland within which alone the English conquerors of Ireland held dominion for a long period after their invasion of the country by Henry II in 1172. See note, below.

{beyond the pale} outside the limits of what is allowed or proper; also, outside the limits within which one is protected. --Spencer. [1913 Webster +PJC]

Note: The English Pale. That part of Ireland in which English law was acknowledged, and within which the dominion of the English was restricted, for some centuries after the conquests of Henry II. John distributed the part of Ireland then subject to England into 12 counties palatine, and this region became subsequently known as the Pale, but the limits varied at different times. [Century Dict., 1906]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beyond the Pale — is a phrase referring to unacceptable behaviour (see the first link below for further information). It may also refer to:*The Irish Pale, a demarcation line in Ireland while under English dominion. *The Pale of Settlement, an area of permitted… …   Wikipedia

  • beyond the pale — {adv.} or {adj. phr.} In disgrace; with no chance of being accepted or respected by others; not approved by the members of a group. * /After the outlaw killed a man he was beyond the pale and not even his old friends would talk to him./ * /Tom s… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • beyond the pale — {adv.} or {adj. phr.} In disgrace; with no chance of being accepted or respected by others; not approved by the members of a group. * /After the outlaw killed a man he was beyond the pale and not even his old friends would talk to him./ * /Tom s… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • beyond the pale — If something s beyond the pale, it is too extreme to be acceptable morally or socially …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • beyond the pale — beyond the limit, over the boundary    His comment went beyond the pale of respect. It was vulgar …   English idioms

  • beyond the pale — ► beyond the pale outside the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Main Entry: ↑pale …   English terms dictionary

  • beyond the pale — UNACCEPTABLE, unseemly, improper, unsuitable, unreasonable, intolerable, disgraceful, deplorable, outrageous, scandalous, shocking; informal not on, not the done thing, out of order, out of line; Austral./NZ informal over the fence; formal… …   Useful english dictionary

  • beyond\ the\ pale — adv or adj. phr. In disgrace; with no chance of being accepted or respected by others; not approved by the members of a group. After the outlaw killed a man he was beyond the pale and not even his old friends would talk to him. Tom s swearing is… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • beyond the pale — not acceptable to most people. For most people, a discussion like this has been simply beyond the pale. Etymology: based on a past meaning of pale (= an area in Ireland, Scotland, or France controlled by England), and the idea that places outside …   New idioms dictionary

  • beyond the pale — outside the bounds of acceptable behavior What they are doing is totally unacceptable and beyond the pale …   Idioms and examples

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