pale

noun
\ ˈpāl How to pronounce pale (audio) \

Definition of pale

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 archaic : palisade, paling
2a : one of the stakes of a palisade
3a : a space or field having bounds : enclosure The cattle were led into the pale.
b : a territory or district within certain bounds or under a particular jurisdiction British culture survived even within the Roman pale.
4 : an area or the limits within which one is privileged or protected (as from censure) conduct that was beyond the pale
5 : a perpendicular stripe on a heraldic shield

pale

verb (1)
paled; paling

Definition of pale (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

: to enclose with pales : fence

pale

adjective
paler; palest

Definition of pale (Entry 3 of 5)

1a : deficient in color or intensity of color : pallid a pale complexion
b(1) : having color of reduced saturation — see saturation sense 4a a pale pink
(2) : light in color especially relative to others of its kind pale beers
2 : not bright or brilliant : dim a pale sun shining through the fog
3 : feeble, faint a pale imitation

pale

verb (2)
paled; paling

Definition of pale (Entry 4 of 5)

intransitive verb

: to become pale

transitive verb

: to make pale
variants: or paleo-

Definition of pale- (Entry 5 of 5)

1 : involving or dealing with ancient forms or conditions paleobotany
2 : early : primitive : archaic Paleolithic

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Other Words from pale

Adjective

palely \ ˈpāl-​lē How to pronounce palely (audio) \ adverb
paleness \ ˈpāl-​nəs How to pronounce paleness (audio) \ noun
palish \ ˈpā-​lish How to pronounce palish (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for pale

Synonyms: Adjective

dull, dulled, faded, light, pastel, washed-out, washy

Antonyms: Adjective

dark, deep, gay, rich

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Examples of pale in a Sentence

Adjective

the pale wood of the table The walls were painted a pale blue. She has a pale complexion. Her illness had left her pale and weak. She grew pale with fright. Are you feeling well? You look pale. the pale light of dawn
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All problems of local [U.S.] industry pale into insignificance in relation to the world crisis. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump America Isn’t Going to the G7 to Make Friends (or Keep Them)," 7 June 2018 Whisk together granulated sugar and eggs in a bowl until pale and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Jasmine Madeleines With Lemon-Poppy Seed Glaze," 1 Mar. 2019 Bake until crust is set and pale in color, 8 to 10 minutes more. Jade Zimmerman, Country Living, "Gingery Sweet Potato Pie," 1 Nov. 2018 Aggressive moves by both Sega and Sony may have soured Nintendo's thoughts on keeping its 2D system afloat or on releasing the pales-in-comparison 3D experiments of Star Fox 2. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "WarioWare Gold: A fine example of Nintendo’s weird “end of life” history," 3 Aug. 2018 Google, for its part, has poked at this idea as well, specifically to enable the sale of devices that would otherwise be beyond the pale. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Tech Companies Shouldn't Make Us Trust Them, At All," 11 Jan. 2019 The front camera variation will morph you into a pale-faced, ghoulish version of your original self, complete with bloody lips and a killer smoky eye. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Instagram Unveils New Halloween Features," 27 Oct. 2018 This roaming band of Hadza hunter-gatherers, in northern Tanzania, was now accustomed to visits from small tour groups like ours—pale-faced strangers with hats, cameras and water bottles—but our motives remained mysterious to them. WSJ, "Hunting in Tanzania the Way Our Earliest Ancestors Did," 9 Oct. 2018 His back is sun-kissed with a tan that fades as his hips narrow to dimples and to a pale, taut backside. Vogue, "Fifty Shades of Grey," 24 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Those figures pale in comparison with the hundreds of millions of dollars superhero blockbusters rake in. Benjamin Din, WSJ, "A Renaissance for Documentaries," 2 Sep. 2018 The nervous agitation viewers might feel at all the reckless skateboarding will pale in comparison to their worry over Elliott. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Minding the Gap’ Review: The Perilous Road to Maturity," 16 Aug. 2018 Bake, rotating positions of pans halfway through, until set and dry to touch but pale, about 5 minutes. Cherry Point, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Homemade Saltine Crackers," 7 Aug. 2018 Those numbers pale when compared to other border districts that have been doing mass hearings for years. Elliot Spagat, Houston Chronicle, "California, long a holdout, adopts mass immigration hearings," 9 July 2018 Those numbers pale when compared to other border districts that have been doing mass hearings for years. Elliot Spagat, Houston Chronicle, "California, long a holdout, adopts mass immigration hearings," 9 July 2018 Those numbers pale when compared to other border districts that have been doing mass hearings for years. Elliot Spagat, Houston Chronicle, "California, long a holdout, adopts mass immigration hearings," 9 July 2018 Those numbers pale when compared to other border districts that have been doing mass hearings for years. Elliot Spagat, Houston Chronicle, "California, long a holdout, adopts mass immigration hearings," 9 July 2018 Those numbers pale when compared with other border districts that have been doing mass hearings for years. Elliot Spagat, BostonGlobe.com, "California, long a holdout, adopts mass immigration hearings," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Half of that is getting hair to very pale blonde, and the other half is toning, a process that involves adjusting the coolness or warmth of hair prior to applying dye. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "I Just Got Gray Highlights, and Now I Love My Hair More Than Ever," 10 Apr. 2019 Similar to powdery pastel (another big color trend for spring), the shade is great for anyone with pale highlights or platinum-white hair, says Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Salon Soho in New York City. Glamour, "Lavender-Gray Hair Is Spring’s Most Unexpectedly Cool Color Trend," 9 Apr. 2019 Shot against pale backgrounds, the looks have a subversive spirit—even on mannequins. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "An Exclusive First Look at the Met’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” Catalog," 3 Apr. 2019 Ukraine’s economic stagnation was visible in the pale bricks that had fallen from hospital’s facade, in the potholes in city roads, in the white zebra stripes almost totally washed away at pedestrian crossings. Mstyslav Chernov, The Seattle Times, "Ukrainian workers, seeing little hope at home, head abroad," 25 Mar. 2019 The dress is a far cry from her pale pink Louis Vuitton Atelier gown from the Golden Globes this year. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Emma Stone's 2019 Oscars Dress Is Basically a Sequin-Covered Honey Comb," 25 Feb. 2019 After Kate Spade's Spring 2019 show—the brand’s first ever—guests rushed across the pale pink runway to congratulate a slim Northern Irish woman with icy blue eyes and a sleek blonde bob. Katharine K. Zarrella, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Spade's New Creative Director Opens Up About Honoring the Late Designer's Legacy," 30 Jan. 2019 The composite showed a man with blond hair, blue eyes and a pale complexion. Kathleen Foody, Fox News, "Colorado police make arrest in 30-year-old slaying of woman," 20 Sep. 2018 The addition was built using a pale Danish brick, which echoes the original brickwork of the house and remains exposed within the addition. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "Behind the Scenes of a London Townhouse’s Modern Makeover," 15 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pale

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for pale

Noun and Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French pel, pal stake, from Latin palus — more at pole

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin pallidus, from pallēre to be pale — more at fallow

Combining form

Greek palai-, palaio- ancient, from palaios, from palai long ago; probably akin to Greek tēle far off, Sanskrit carama last

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Learn More about pale

Dictionary Entries near pale

palberry

paldao

pale-

pale

palea

paleaceous

Paleacrita

Statistics for pale

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pale

The first known use of pale was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for pale

pale

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pale

: light in color
: having a skin color that is closer to white than is usual or normal
of light : not bright or intense

pale

adjective
\ ˈpāl How to pronounce pale (audio) \
paler; palest

Kids Definition of pale

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having very light skin
2 : having a lighter skin color than normal because of sickness or fear
3 : not bright or brilliant a pale star
4 : light in color or shade pale pink

Other Words from pale

paleness noun

pale

verb
paled; paling

Kids Definition of pale (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to lose color She paled when the wound was described to her.
2 : to make or become less adequate, impressive, or intense My science project paled in comparison to those of the other students.

pale

adjective
\ ˈpā(ə)l How to pronounce pale (audio) \
paler; palest

Medical Definition of pale

: deficient in color or intensity of color a pale face

Other Words from pale

paleness \ -​nəs How to pronounce paleness (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on pale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pale

Spanish Central: Translation of pale

Nglish: Translation of pale for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pale for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pale

Comments on pale

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