Beyond the pale – Idioms by The Free Dictionary

beyond the pale

Completely unacceptable or inappropriate. A “https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/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.

Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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.

Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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.

Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.

Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

beyond the pale

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

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

beyond the pale

Unacceptable, outside the rules of society, morality, etc. The noun “pale,” from the Latin palum, meant a stake of the kind used to make fences, or a fence made of such stakes. By extension it came to mean the limits designated by a fence, at first literally and then figuratively. In the fourteenth century the English Pale was a name given to the part of Ireland then under English rule and therefore within the bounds of civilization (as perceived by the English). There was a similar pale around Calais. More figuratively still, the English printer William Caxton wrote in 1483, “The abbot and 21 monks went for to dwelle in deserte for to kepe more straytelye the profession of theyr pale.” Three centuries later and three thousand miles away, Thomas Jefferson referred to “within the pale of their own laws.”

The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

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.

Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price

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