Posted on June 26, 2004. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Beyond the pale
Meaning: Unacceptable; outside agreed standards of decency.
Origin: The ‘pale’ derives from paling meaning fence. In the UK The Pale was the region of Dublin under English rule. There were also pales in other places, e.g. Russia. See also, ‘below the salt’

The Pale, in Ireland’s case, was an earthen embankment rather than simply a wooden fence, and the term described both the structure and the area within. It encompassed an area much larger than just Dublin. See: http://www.rootsweb.com/~irlkik/ihm/ire1400.htm

Those within the Pale spoke English and obeyed English law. Those beyond the Pale were either heathen Irish or descendants of the original Cambro-Norman settlers who, although remaining loyal to the Crown, adopted Irish laws and customs and were, therefore, outside the limits of social convention.


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