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Idiom of the day 'Beyond the Pale'

Average: 3 (7 votes)

If something is referred to as 'beyond the pale', it is viewed as unacceptable and indecent. The word 'pale' in this expression is not the adjective meaning 'whitish and light in colour', but it is in fact a now obsolete noun that used to mean 'a pointed piece of wood or a stake'. (We no longer use this noun, but it is where the verb 'impale' originated from). Of course, a number of 'pales' in a row were used to make fences, and any area enclosed by a fence was believed to be safe. So anything 'beyond the pale' was considered to be outside the area accepted as 'safe'.

"After he's had a few beers his behaviour is often beyond the pale."

"Her rude comments to my friends were really beyond the pale."

Now give us some some examples of when you might say something was 'beyond the pale'.

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