pale

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be beyond the pale

To be unacceptable or inappropriate. A "pale" is an area bounded by a fence. Disrupting my class is beyond the pale, young lady—go to the principal's office! Most people would consider stealing to be beyond the pale.
See also: beyond, pale

beyond the pale

Completely unacceptable or inappropriate. A "pale" is an area bounded by a fence. Disrupting my class is beyond the pale, young lady—go to the principal's office! Most people would consider stealing to be beyond the pale.
See also: beyond, pale

beyond the pale

Fig. unacceptable; outlawed. (A. pale is a barrier made of wooden stakes.) Your behavior is simply beyond the pale. Because of Tom's rudeness, he's considered beyond the pale and is never asked to parties anymore.
See also: beyond, pale

pale around the gills

 and blue around the gills; green around the gills
Fig. looking sick. (The around can be replaced with about.) John is looking a little pale around the gills. What's wrong? Oh, I feel a little green about the gills.
See also: around, gill, pale

*pale as a ghost

 and *pale as death
very pale. (*Also: as ~.) Laura came into the room, as pale as a ghost. "What happened?" her friends gasped. What's the matter? You're pale as death!
See also: ghost, pale

pale at something

to become weak, frightened, or pale from fear of something or the thought of something. Bob paled at the thought of having to drive all the way back to get the forgotten suitcase. We paled at the notion that we would always be poor.
See also: pale

pale beside someone or something

Fig. to appear to be weak or unimportant when compared to someone or something. He is competent, but he pales beside Fran. My meager effort pales beside your masterpiece.
See also: beside, pale

pale by comparison

 and pale in comparison
Fig. to appear to be deficient in comparison to something else. My work pales by comparison with yours. You are a real pro.
See also: comparison, pale

pale in comparison (with something)

also pale by comparison (with something)
to seem lacking in importance or quality than something else I thought I had a frightening accident, but mine pales in comparison with yours.
See also: comparison, pale

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 this area were dangerous for the English
See also: beyond, pale

fade/pale into insignificance

if something pales into insignificance, it does not seem at all important when compared to something else When your child's ill, everything else pales into insignificance. With the outbreak of war all else fades into insignificance.
See also: fade

be beyond the pale

if someone's behaviour is beyond the pale, it is not acceptable Her recent conduct is beyond the pale.
See also: beyond, pale

pale by/in comparison

to seem less serious or less important when compared with something else (often + with ) I thought I was badly treated but my experiences pale in comparison with yours.
See fade into insignificance
See also: comparison, pale

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.
See also: beyond, pale

beyond the pale

Irrevocably unacceptable or unreasonable: behavior that was quite beyond the pale.
See also: beyond, pale

beyond the pale

A pale, originally a stockade made of pales of wood, was an area under the authority of a certain official. In the 14th and 15th centuries the British ruled Dublin, the surrounding area was outside the law. Anyone or anything beyond the pale was considered savage and dangerous, and the express came to mean anything unacceptable or beyond the limits of accepted morality or conduct.
See also: beyond, pale
References in classic literature ?
echoed the fierce Huron, mistaking in his anger, the meaning of her words; "the memory of an Indian is no longer than the arm of the pale faces; his mercy shorter than their justice
A despairing cry escaped the pale lips of Mercedes; the old man sank into a chair.
At sight of this pale, bleeding man, the wife grasped her husband's arm.
A stronger infusion would take the blood out of the cheek, and leave the rosiest beauty a pale ghost.
A painful smile passed over the pale features of Fouquet.
It was all very well to look pale, sitting for the portrait of Aquinas, you know--we got your letter just in time.
Or is it, after all, to quote him once more, that beyond those ever- recurring pagan misgivings, those pale pagan consolations, our generation feels yet cannot adequately express--
The clerk was pale, and there was an odd sensation in his throat.
Thus left alone, Cornelius threw himself on his bed, but he slept not, he kept his eye fixed on the narrow window, barred with iron, which looked on the Buytenhof; and in this way saw from behind the trees that first pale beam of light which morning sheds on the earth as a white mantle.
The Hunter, turning very pale and chattering with his teeth from fear, replied, "No, thank you.
He was pale, as if from excitement--as pale as the others felt themselves to be.
Then came a little valley overgrown with the pale purple bloom of thistles and elusively haunted with their perfume.
He was very pale and his face bore the marks of the preceding sleepless night.
I noticed that he was frightfully pale, and that his face was lined as if from the effects of some terrible suffering.
the pale criminal hath bowed his head: out of his eye speaketh the great contempt.