Pales into insignificance

What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘Pales into insignificance’?

Appears much less important when compared with something else (to the point of becoming not at all significant).

What’s the origin of the phrase ‘Pales into insignificance’?

The precise origin of this phrase is still somewhat subject to debate at present, though it appears to be first seen in print in the mid seventeenth century, in the context of ‘pale’ referring to something which becomes negligible in how it stands out compared with something more bold and striking.

The phrase is used to state that one thing is either far superior or far more valuable/significant/impressive/telling than what it’s being compared with.

Alternative phrases may include: very lacklustre, is superseded, and loses much significance.

What are some notable uses of the phrase ‘Pales into insignificance’?

The sentiment conveyed in this phrase is echoed far and wide in many aspects of life and culture, even though it is not always expressed in the exact same way.

The sentiment crops up again and again in everything from political commentary and historical comparisons, through to economic journalism, and current energy saving and environmental matters.

Examples from pop culture may include discussion of the characters and their standing in Jane Austin’s classic title ‘Pride and Prejudice’, or discussion of the 1993 film ‘Schindler’s List’ to describe the horrors that the movie depicts.

Cari Mayhew - Author at Phrase Finder

Cari Mayhew

Lifelong learner, phrase fanatic, and lover of literature across multiple genres. Cari Mayhew has a passion for expression, and a keen curiosity for how phrases begin and how their use transforms over time. She is often found looking for the ideal idiom to convey her thoughts and musings.