Recently the expression, “beyond the pale” has been used numerous times in reference to numerous things said by the republican presidential candidate. Yes that is numerous and numerous.
I knew what “beyond the pale” meant in the context, but did not know the origin.
Of course I did a google search. I found this great site, The Phrase Finder.
According to the site, beyond the pale is defined as the following:
This ‘pale’ is the noun meaning ‘a stake or pointed piece of wood’, a meaning now virtually obsolete except as used in this phrase, but still in use in the associated words ‘paling’ (as in paling fence) and ‘impale’ (as in Dracula movies).
The space within the paling fence was safe. Beyond the pale, not so much. Unless, protection becomes a trap.
I do like sharp and pointy things, so I am delighted with the definition. Several years ago I made the series Tools for Rent. It consisted of 11 bronze daggers, each bound into a cedar box.
The Phrase Finder is a truly fun site to find meanings and origins of phrases you may be using and to find phrases you might like to add to your future conversations.
Pale is also a homophone (pail), so that could have possibly lead to some confusion. Loads of words when heard can be confused for other words.
A few confusion words in the previous paragraph:
I will end with this quote from The Phrase Finder site bulletin:
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.
From Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare