Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The condition or degree of being pale or of lacking color.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or condition of being pale; want of freshness or ruddiness; a sickly whiteness; lack of color or luster; wanness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The character or condition of being pale; wanness; defect of color; want of freshness or ruddiness; whiteness of look.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the property of having a naturally light complexion
  • n. being deficient in color
  • n. unnatural lack of color in the skin (as from bruising or sickness or emotional distress)

Etymologies

pale +‎ -ness (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mr. Geach has seen Malays when terrified turn pale and shake; and Mr. Brough Smyth states that a native Australian "being on one occasion much frightened, showed a complexion as nearly approaching to what we call paleness, as can well be conceived in the case of a very black man."

    The expression of the emotions in man and animals

  • Beyond a sign of wealth, paleness is held in high regard within circles of the hipsterdom's intellectual elite.

    Verena von Pfetten: Tan Is The New Tacky

  • Mr. Koonin said he was unlikely to alter the schedule much when Mr. O'Brien arrived, even on Wednesday night; Mr. O'Brien - who often mocks his own "paleness" - is not known for attracting black viewers.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Sicily more terrible, or did the sword that hung from the gilded cornice strike more dread into the princely neck beneath it, than the voice which whispers to the heart, 'We are going, going down a precipice,' and the ghastly inward paleness, which is a mystery, even to the wife of our heart?

    Post-Augustan Poetry From Seneca to Juvenal

  • Next to this charming tenuity, perhaps her paleness was her most noticeable trait.

    The Pit: A Story of Chicago

  • Both she and I took after our mother; we were broad-shouldered, strong, and sturdy, but her paleness was a sign of sickness, she often coughed, and in her eyes

    The House with the Mezzanine and Other Stories

  • Many ladies, especially those from the northern provinces of Spain, have sometimes the beautiful white skins and the ruddy freshness of complexion so much admired in my countrywomen; but, unfortunately, that colour is not very lasting, as the first season they pass in the Philippines is generally sufficient to blanch their bloom, but it is very often succeeded by a soft and delicate-looking paleness, which is perhaps not a whit less dangerous to amatory bachelors than the more brilliant colours which preceded it.

    Recollections of Manilla and the Philippines During 1848, 1849 and 1850

  • But unfortunately for Emerson's reputation this publication was somewhat belated, for the robust Emerson one finds in the Journals is a far more attractive figure than the transcendental ghost lingering in the popular imagination, whose 'paleness' and remoteness led Henry James, the novelist, to speak of the 'white tint' of Emerson's career.

    Emerson Behind Barbed Wire

  • But it was the kind of paleness that one has after a particularly exquisite experience.

    O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1921

  • His complexion was pale, not that clear white paleness which is agreeable to behold, but a bilious yellow; his hair was of a light colour, and his eyes, of a greenish grey, seemed devoid of all expression.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, Number 361, November, 1845.

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.