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

Add the butter and mix on low speed until the two are evenly combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until pale and lightened in texture, about 3 minutes. Ben Mims, latimes.com, "Saturday Cooks: Fresh farmers market cherries get a boost in flavor from a surprising source," 29 June 2019 Mr Salomón, who was born in the northern state of Sonora, recalls that his grandmother had two dogs—a black one called Negro and a white one called Güero, meaning pale. The Economist, "Pet-ownership is booming across the world," 22 June 2019 The living room, for example, has two shades of pale Farrow & Ball greens on the walls. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "This 100-Year-Old Apartment Is Anything But Stuffy," 21 June 2019 Meghan chose a pale pink off-the shoulder look by Carolina Herrera for the Queen's birthday parade in 2018, an outfit which some incorrectly called a breech of protocol. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Chose a Gorgeous Navy Dress For Today's Trooping the Colour Parade," 8 June 2019 Most recently Debicki attended the Met Gala in a pale pink Salvatore Ferragamo dress that featured an oversized bow. Lindzi Scharf, latimes.com, "Elizabeth Debicki opens up about her life. Now what about that top-secret project?," 7 June 2019 First in line of parental responsibility is probably the Professor, head of an experimental underground laboratory where, for a price, wealthy people are relieved of their traumatic experiences which are then turned into pale, shadowy creatures. Scott Bradfield, latimes.com, "Books that are delightfully strange, frightening and have parent issues," 28 June 2018 The first lady wore a different pale yellow jacket when the plane landed in McAllen, Texas, for a visit to the Upbring New Hope Children's Center, which houses 55 migrant children. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Melania Trump's 'I don't care' jacket causes stir on border visit," 21 June 2018 Melania Trump changed into a pale yellow jacket before the plane landed in McAllen for a visit to the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center, which houses 55 migrant children. Darlene Superville, latimes.com, "First lady's jacket asks a pointed question," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even when factoring in a 104% growth in digital streaming, according to NBC Sports Chicago, the White Sox numbers pale in comparison to what the Cubs draw on the channel. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "White Sox TV ratings are way up but still can’t match Cubs numbers, which are down," 18 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The problem with making an exhaustive catalog of the craziest theories entertained by Americans over the last 200 years is that today’s almost seem to pale by comparison. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Democratic Rot and the Origins of American Conspiracism," 3 July 2019 In fact, some beachgoers have not noticed their new neighbors, whose pale gray-brown plumage blends into the sandy landscape. Sarah Wu, BostonGlobe.com, "Endangered piping plovers hatch in Boston for the first time in decades," 2 July 2019 Taylor, 39, kept it cool and casual in a pale blue shirt, khaki pants and dark loafers. Natalie Stone, PEOPLE.com, "Inside Vanderpump Rules' Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright's Kentucky Castle Rehearsal Dinner," 28 June 2019 Elsewhere, lightweight textiles, pale wood accents, and leafy views are the order of the day. The house is also stocked with cards and board games, as Weiss enforces a strict no-cell-phone rule outside of the bedrooms. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "This Sonoma Home Has THE Most Genius Napping Nook," 28 June 2019 Between Sabrina's new white-blonde hair, Shipka's pale skin, and the bright camera lights, Stafford-Bridge has had to pump up her blush for the second half of the season. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 5 Apr. 2019 The look instantly brought to mind a young bombshell Bruni on Chanel's 1990 runway—updated slightly by Hadid with an all-over bronze glow and poppy pink lips in place of pale skin and a Bordeaux mouth. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Has a Carla Bruni Doppelganger Moment (Again!) and It's Worth a Double Take," 6 Sep. 2018 On the other side of tanning, Chris Matthews, the good-natured MSNBC host, has pale Irish skin, to accompany his light blond hair. Alison Rose, Town & Country, "Hot Pursuit," 16 Dec. 2012 After weeks of being reprimanded by Justice Jackson for spouting random objections and nonsensical legalese, a gaunt and pale Mr. Gilbert, 34, has largely been absent from his own proceedings, choosing not to come to court on most days. New York Times, "He Graduated From Princeton, but Barely Worked. Then He Killed His Dad Over His Allowance.," 18 June 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near pale

palazzo pants

palberry

paldao

pale

pale-

palea

paleaceous

Statistics for pale

Last Updated

5 Jul 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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