AskDefine | Define pale

Dictionary Definition

pale adj
1 very light colored; highly diluted with white; "pale seagreen"; "pale blue eyes"
2 (of light) lacking in intensity or brightness; dim or feeble; "the pale light of a half moon"; "a pale sun"; "the late afternoon light coming through the el tracks fell in pale oblongs on the street"; "a pallid sky"; "the pale (or wan) stars"; "the wan light of dawn" [syn: pallid, wan]
3 lacking in vitality or interest or effectiveness; "a pale rendition of the aria"; "pale prose with the faint sweetness of lavender"; "a pallid performance" [syn: pallid]
4 abnormally deficient in color as suggesting physical or emotional distress; "the pallid face of the invalid"; "her wan face suddenly flushed" [syn: pallid, wan]
5 not full or rich; "high, pale, pure and lovely song" n : a wooden strip forming part of a fence [syn: picket] v : turn pale, as if in fear [syn: blanch, blench]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

  • , /peIl/
  • /peɪɫ/
  • Rhymes: -eɪl
  • Homophones: pail

Etymology 1

Via and from pallidus

Adjective

  1. light in color.
Translations
light in color

Verb

  1. To become pale. To become insignificant.
    2006 New York Times Its financing pales next to the tens of billions that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will have at its disposal, ...
Translations
to become pale

Etymology 2

palus

Noun

  1. A wooden stake.
  2. A fence, especially one made from wooden stakes.
  3. A territory or defensive area that one nation holds in another country, e.g., Britain’s medieval control of Calais in France or Dublin in Ireland.
  4. The jurisdiction (territorial or otherwise) of an authority.
  5. The bounds of morality, good behaviour or judgment in civilized company, in the phrase beyond the pale.
  6. In heraldry, a vertical band down the middle of a shield.
Translations
  • Norwegian: påle
  • Polish: pal

Related terms

Estonian

Noun

pale

French

Etymology

Latin pala

Noun

pale

Italian

Noun

pale
  1. Plural of pala

Kurdish

Noun

pale

Swahili

Adverb

pale

Extensive Definition

A pale is a territory or jurisdiction (possibly non-territorial) under a given authority, or the limits of such a jurisdiction. The term was often used in cases where the territory or jurisdiction outside the pale was considered hostile.
The most famous pale was in Ireland in the 14th and 15th centuries, and was known simply as the Pale, or as the English Pale. This was a region in a radius of twenty miles (32 km) around Dublin which the English gradually fortified against incursion from Gaelic Ireland.
Other pales include:
The word can also be used to describe the (limits of) jurisdiction of non-territorial authorities, for example, "the Church claims no authority over unbaptized persons, as they are entirely without her pale".

Etymology

The word pale derives ultimately from the Latin word palus, meaning stake. (Palisade and impale are derived from the same root.) In this case it literally refers to a stake (or pole) that forms part of a protective fence around a settlement. From this came the figurative meaning of 'boundary', and the concept of a pale as an area within which local laws were valid.
The phrase "beyond the pale", meaning to go beyond the limits of law or decency, was in use by the mid-17th century. The phrase is possibly a reference to the general sense of boundary, not to any of the particular pales that bore that name, although in the Atlantic Isles it is popularly understood to be a reference to the Pale in Ireland. To 'Go Beyond the Pale' in that context is to leave the civilized (English) world behind and enter the uncivilized (Irish) world. It therefore has strong racist anti-Irish overtones.
Several Irish-American musicians have attempted to reclaim the term and use it to refer to a sense of Irishness or Celtic identity that is unstained by British Imperialism. The term is referenced in this context in the lyrics to I Amhttp://beltainesfire.com/music/i-am, by Beltaine's Fire on their debut release 'The Weapon of the Future'. Irish-American Hard-Rock singer 'Fiona' used the phrase 'Beyond the Pale' as the title for her debut release on Atlantic Records in 1986, simultaneously asserting her Irishness and her disregard for 'decency'. A third group, Irish folk band 'Beyond the Pale http://www.beyond-the-pale.com/ uses it to imply that they themselves are 'beyond the pale' and therefore authentically Irish.
The term "Pale" has come in to common usage in the north of England, particularly in the West Yorkshire area to denote a situation or person that is deemed to be unfavourable i.e "Pale" "This is pale" and "You pale bastard"

References

pale in Bengali: পালে
pale in Spanish: Empalizada
pale in Vietnamese: Pale

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abate, abnormal, achievement, achromatic, achromatize, achromic, alabaster, alabastrine, albescent, alerion, ambit, anathema, anemic, animal charge, annulet, arena, argent, arid, armorial bearings, armory, arms, ashen, ashy, azure, bailiwick, bandeau, bar, bar sinister, barren, baton, bearings, beat, bend, bend sinister, billet, bizarre, blah, blanch, blanched, blank, blazon, blazonry, bleach, bleach out, blear, bleared, bleary, bled white, blench, block, bloodless, blue, blur, blurred, blurry, blush, border, borderland, borders, bordure, boundaries, boundary, bounds, bourns, broad arrow, bulkhead in, cachectic, cadaverous, cadency mark, canton, change color, chaplet, characterless, charge, chevron, chief, chloranemic, cincture, circle, circuit, circumference, circumscription, clos, close, coat of arms, cockatrice, cold, color, colorless, compass, confine, confines, confused, container, coop, coordinates, coronet, corpselike, court, courtyard, cream, creamy, crescent, crest, crimson, croft, cross, cross moline, crown, curtilage, dark, darken, dead, deadly, deadly pale, deathlike, deathly, deathly pale, debilitated, decolor, decolorize, decrease, defocus, delicate, delimited field, demesne, department, device, difference, differencing, dim, diminish, dimmed, dingy, discolor, discolored, dismal, domain, dominion, doughy, draggy, drain, drain of color, drained, drearisome, dreary, dry, dryasdust, dull, dun-white, dusty, eagle, edges, eerie, effete, eggshell, elephantine, empty, enclave, enclosure, enervated, enfeebled, ermine, ermines, erminites, erminois, escutcheon, etiolate, etiolated, exhausted, exsanguinated, exsanguine, exsanguineous, fade, fade away, fade out, faded, failing, faint, fair, falcon, fallow, feeble, fence, fess, fess point, field, file, film, filmy, flanch, flat, fleur-de-lis, flimsy, flush, fog, foggy, fold, forbidden, forty, frail, freeze, fret, fringes, fume, funk, fur, fusil, fuzzy, garland, ghastly, ghostlike, ghostly, glaucescent, glaucous, gloss, glow, gray, gray-white, griffin, grisly, ground, grow pale, gruesome, gules, gyron, haggard, half-baked, half-seen, half-visible, hatchment, hazy, healthless, heavy, hedge, helmet, hem, hemisphere, heraldic device, ho-hum, hollow, honor point, hueless, hypochromic, ill-defined, impalement, impaling, improper, in poor health, inadequate, inadmissible, inane, inconspicuous, indecent, indefinite, indistinct, indistinguishable, ineffective, ineffectual, inescutcheon, inexcitable, infirm, insignificant, insipid, insubstantial, interdicted, invalid, iridescent, irregular, ivory, ivory-white, jejune, judicial circuit, jurisdiction, kraal, label, lackluster, lame, languishing, leaden, leg, lessen, lifeless, light, limitations, limits, lint-white, lion, list, livid, look black, lose color, lose courage, lose resolution, lot, low-profile, low-spirited, lozenge, lurid, lusterless, macabre, mantle, mantling, march, marches, marshaling, martlet, mascle, mat, mealy, mellow, merely glimpsed, metal, metes, metes and bounds, mist, misty, moribund, mortuary, mother-of-pearl, motto, muddy, mullet, nacreous, neutral, nombril point, obscure, octofoil, off-white, opalescent, or, orb, orbit, ordinary, orle, out of focus, outlines, outre, outskirts, pale as death, pale-faced, paling, palisade, pallid, paltry, paly, parameters, parcel of land, park, pastel, pasty, patch, patinaed, peaked, peaky, pean, pearl, pearly, pearly-white, peculiar, pedestrian, peg, pen, perimeter, periphery, peroxide, pheon, picket, pile, plat, plodding, plot, plot of ground, pointless, poky, ponderous, poor, post, precinct, prohibited, province, puny, purpure, quad, quadrangle, quarter, quartering, quiet, rail, real estate, realm, redden, reduced, reduced in health, restriction, rose, round, run-down, sable, sad, sallow, saltire, scutcheon, section, semigloss, semivisible, shadowy, shank, shield, sick, sickly, simple, skirts, slow, sober, soft, soft-colored, soft-hued, soften, softened, solemn, somber, sphere, spile, spiritless, spread eagle, square, stake, sterile, stiff, stodgy, strange, stuffy, subdued, subordinary, subtle, superficial, sweet, take alarm, take fright, tallow-faced, tame, tarnish, tasteless, tedious, tender, tenne, theater, tincture, toft, tone down, toneless, torse, tract, tressure, turn color, turn pale, turn red, turn white, unacceptable, uncanny, uncertain, unclear, uncolored, undefined, unearthly, unhealthy, unicorn, uninspired, unlively, unplain, unrecognizable, unseemly, unsound, unsubstantial, unsuitable, unusual, upright, vague, vair, valetudinarian, valetudinary, vapid, verboten, verges, vert, walk, wall, wan, wash out, washed out, washed-out, waterish, watery, waxen, weak, weakened, weakly, weird, whey-faced, white, whiten, whitened, whitish, whity, wishy-washy, with low resistance, wooden, wreath, yale, yard
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