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Beyond the pale

Posted by James Briggs on August 11, 2004

In Reply to: Beyond the pale posted by barry monaghan on August 11, 2004

: I have yet to see the correct origen of this saying
: 'beyond the fence' is a good answer, but it fails to explain the 'origen' I believe I know the correct answer to this and will award a prize of 25 dollars
: to the first person to email me the correct answer
: or more precisely the answer I believe is the correct answer, a not so helpful clue might be the french word 'Gouche'

I don't know what you reckon your 'correct' answer is, but here's mine!
If someone is beyond the pale they are regarded as beyond normal civilised behaviour; uncouth; somewhat barbarous. The Pale here was an actual area. In medieval times both The Pale of Ireland and the Pale of Calais existed. A Pale was the area over which the King of England had control. It was often little more than the area immediately around a town. All outside was regarded as full of savagery and barbarism. The word itself comes from the Latin "palum" meaning "stake". By evolution this came to mean "fence around a territory".

See also: the meaning and origin of 'Beyond the pale'.