Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: beyond the pale

  1. #1
    yuanmingqing is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    24
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default beyond the pale

    Can anyone shed any light on the expression "beyond the pale"? I heard it in the context of somesome's conduct being beyond the pale. What does it mean and how commonly used is this expression in daily conversation?

  2. #2
    yuanmingqing is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    24
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: beyond the pale

    Thnak you for the brief explanation. Can anyone give some examples to make it easier for me to understand this expression? How common is it an expression in daily life?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,425
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: beyond the pale

    A pale is a pointed wooden stake, and these were once made into a fence called a palisade. Some outpost, way out in the wilderness, would have this sort of fence around it for protection. So, beyond the pale(s), the other side of the pales, was the wilderness, an uncivilized place.
    So now, when we say somebody's behaviour is 'beyond the pale' we mean it is uncivilized, does not conform to accepted standards of behaviour.
    It is still fairly common, though not often used in everyday speech. We are more likely to say, "That's a bit much". or "He's going a bit far there".

    "

  4. #4
    vil is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,000
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: beyond the pale

    Hi yuanmingqing,

    I have found something in my computer, which draws a general conclusion from the written above from the both my respected colleagues.

    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 those 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 perceives by its rulers, within the bounds of civilization.

    Regards.

    V

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,425
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: beyond the pale

    The word pale derives ultimately from the Latin word palus, meaning stake. (Palisade is derived from the same root.) From this came the figurative meaning of "boundary", and eventually the phrase "beyond the pale".
    Also then derived from the "boundary" concept was the idea of a pale as an area within which local laws were valid. The term was applied to various English colonial settlements, as well as the Pale in Ireland and the Pale of Settlement, the area in the west of Imperial Russia where Jews were permitted to reside.

Similar Threads

  1. to do a take-off on someone.
    By Romel Panzer in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 23-Feb-2007, 17:07

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk