beyond the pale love

beyond the pale


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • phrase idiomatic Describing behaviour that is considered to be outside the bounds of morality, good behaviour or judgement in civilised company.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From pale, a jurisdiction under a given authority; often held by one nation in another country, hence suggesting that anything outside their control was uncivilised. It was in use by the mid-17th century. The phrase may be a reference to the general sense of boundary, but is often understood to refer to the English Pale in Ireland. In the nominally English territory of Ireland, only the pale fell genuinely under the authority of English law, hence the terms within the pale and beyond the pale.


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  • Beyond the pale (of Dublin) meant outside the area of British authority. Online Etymology says this usage is from 1547.

    I have a very vague memory of hearing once that the Vikings founded Dublin (dubh something, which means black...vague memory again...). But maybe I'm just smoking crack...?

    October 18, 2007

  • And pale used here also referred to a picket in a fence, so it also means "beyond the fence"--or whatever barrier surrounded the city.

    October 18, 2007

  • have you ever associated "beyond the pale" with impale. That a sticky point!

    October 18, 2007

  • Ouch. Stick-y indeed.

    October 18, 2007

  • Dublin is derived from "dubh linn" (black pool), and was indeed founded by the Vikings.

    "The Pale", which was an actual fence around the city, came later, with the Normans.

    October 18, 2007

  • Sionnach is a font of very useful information. :-)

    October 18, 2007

  • *feels better to know she's not smoking crack*

    October 18, 2007

  • One would imagine you'd know, one way or the other.

    October 18, 2007