beyond the pale


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pale1

pale 1

 (pāl)
n.
1. A stake or pointed stick; a picket.
2. A fence enclosing an area.
3. The area enclosed by a fence or boundary.
4.
a. A region or district lying within an imposed boundary or constituting a separate jurisdiction.
b. Pale The medieval dominions of the English in Ireland. Used with the.
5. Heraldry A wide vertical band in the center of an escutcheon.
tr.v. paled, pal·ing, pales
To enclose with pales; fence in.
Idiom:
beyond the pale
Irrevocably unacceptable or unreasonable: behavior that was quite beyond the pale.

[Middle English, from Old French pal, from Latin pālus; see pag- in Indo-European roots.]

pale 2

 (pāl)
adj. pal·er, pal·est
1. Whitish in complexion; pallid.
2.
a. Of a low intensity of color; light.
b. Having high lightness and low saturation.
3. Of a low intensity of light; dim or faint: "a late afternoon sun coming through the el tracks and falling in pale oblongs on the cracked, empty sidewalks" (Jimmy Breslin).
4. Feeble; weak: a pale rendition of the aria.
v. paled, pal·ing, pales
v.tr.
To cause to turn pale.
v.intr.
1. To become pale; blanch: paled with fright.
2. To decrease in relative importance.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pallidus, from pallēre, to be pale; see pel- in Indo-European roots.]

pale′ly adv.
pale′ness n.

beyond the pale

Utterly intolerable or unacceptable; from the pale being used to mean the boundary between the part of Ireland controlled by the English and the rest of the island which was considered uncivilized.
Translations
References in classic literature ?
for they had placed themselves beyond the pale of humanity, by crossing the limits imposed by the Creator on his earthly creatures.
His opinions were always impersonal; and now as their manner rather than their make has been slightly tempered, it may surprise the belated reader to learn that it was the belief of one English critic that their author had "placed himself beyond the pale of decency" by them.
Not only had he put himself beyond the pale of human laws, but he had made himself independent of them, free in the strictest acceptation of the word, quite beyond their reach
To release her hold upon the chain and chance clambering to the ladder as her canoe was swept beneath it seemed beyond the pale of possibility, yet to remain clinging to the anchor chain appeared equally as futile.
It was absolutely beyond the pale of possibility that Alvarez should desert me.
I look upon you, sir, as a man who has placed himself beyond the pale of society, by his most audacious, disgraceful, and abominable public conduct.
Mazarin being thus placed beyond the pale of the protection of the law, preparations on both sides were commenced -- by the queen, to attack Paris, by the citizens, to defend it.
Yet to cross through that roomful of sleeping warriors seemed almost equally beyond the pale of possibility.
It seemed beyond the pale of wildest conjecture to suppose that the Hon.
Without one overt act of hostility, one upbraiding word, he contrived to impress me momently with the conviction that I was put beyond the pale of his favour.
To depend upon this valley for sustenance she now saw to be beyond the pale of possibility because of the banths that would keep her from food and water by night, while the dwellers in the towers would doubtless make it equally impossible for her to forage by day.
Does an individual place himself beyond the pale of those preferments by entering on such an office as Mr.