beyond the pale


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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

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

COMMON If a person or their behaviour is beyond the pale, they are completely unacceptable. Any kind of physical aggression from your partner is beyond the pale. In those days divorced women were considered beyond the pale. Note: `Pale' comes from the Latin `palum', meaning `stake', and in English it came to refer to a territorial boundary marked by a line of stakes. The area inside was regarded as civilized, but the area beyond the pale was seen as barbaric.
See also: beyond, pale

beyond the pale

outside the bounds of acceptable behaviour.
A pale (from Latin palus meaning ‘a stake’) is a pointed wooden post used with others to form a fence; from this it came to refer to any fenced enclosure. So, in literal use, beyond the pale meant the area beyond a fence. The term Pale was applied to various territories under English control and especially to the area of Ireland under English jurisdiction before the 16th century. The earliest reference ( 1547 ) to the Pale in Ireland as such draws the contrast between the English Pale and the ‘wyld Irysh’: the area beyond the pale would have been regarded as dangerous and uncivilized by the English.
See also: beyond, pale

beˌyond the ˈpale

considered socially unacceptable: Her behaviour towards her employees is completely beyond the pale. She treats them like servants.A pale was a boundary made of wooden posts or the safe area inside this. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the part of Ireland that was under English rule was called the Pale. The area outside this was beyond the Pale and considered wild and dangerous by the English.
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 periodicals archive ?
Making explicit the discursive assumptions that situate African Americans beyond the pale of white society, and behind a Veil where they are invisible to white eyes blinded by racist stereotypes (Du Bois, Souls 3-4, 8), these portraits-as-mugshots make explicit the "shadow meanings" of white-supremacist images of African Americans.
We support efforts to enhance opinion standards and to make promoters and their advisers accountable for their roles in developing and promoting transactions that are clearly beyond the pale," Mr.
Saddam will most likely entertain defensive and aggressive options that would seem beyond the pale to us.
But the outpouring of vile threats that have been sent to her way go beyond the pale.
Oliver Reed 'Agoraphobic' woman who travelled the world while claiming benefits is found guilty of fraud Beyond the pale - she makes the superstars on Benefit Street look inadequate and quite regular
Confidential can't think of any which would have made it acceptable, but Jennifer Aniston's romcom, Marley and Me, about a couple and a dog is beyond the pale.
Some things have gone beyond the pale in terms of fees.
Some of the vitriol being poured out on message boards and the like is way beyond the pale.
That's beyond the pale so Jake lashes out in the Vic.
Fifteen years later, Wojnarowicz's faith in photography as an inherently subversive medium, perpetually beyond the pale of the culture industry, is a ghost of history--just one of the many ghosts that populate these photographs.
Beyond The Pale looks on an attractive mark in the Vodafone Handicap Hurdle (2.
The Sun remains beyond the pale for those of us who remember the paper's flagrant refusal to see beyond the need to cause maximum distress.
Therefore, moving it down to Eastside, which has never been part of Central Birmingham must be 'completely beyond the pale.
Nathanael knew nothing of Jesus and wrote him off because he came from a place that was dearly beyond the pale.
The paper has encouraged "gays" and lesbians in their lobbying efforts for a decade or longer, but now it declared that "the Vatican "s insistence that politicians put their religion first in determining public policy on the question is beyond the pale.