pale Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a wooden strip forming part of a fence
  2. verb turn pale, as if in fear
    blanch; blench.
  3. adjective satellite very light colored; highly diluted with white
    • pale seagreen
    • pale blue eyes
  4. adjective satellite (of light) lacking in intensity or brightness; dim or feeble
    pallid; sick; wan.
    • the pale light of a half moon
    • a pale sun
    • the late afternoon light coming through the el tracks fell in pale oblongs on the street
    • a pallid sky
    • the pale (or wan) stars
    • the wan light of dawn
  5. adjective satellite lacking in vitality or interest or effectiveness
    • a pale rendition of the aria
    • pale prose with the faint sweetness of lavender
    • a pallid performance
  6. adjective satellite abnormally deficient in color as suggesting physical or emotional distress
    pallid; wan.
    • the pallid face of the invalid
    • her wan face suddenly flushed
  7. adjective satellite not full or rich
    • high, pale, pure and lovely song


Pale adjective
F. pâle, fr. pâlir to turn pale, L. pallere to be o look pale. Cf. Appall, Fallow, pall, v. i., Pallid.
comparative Paler ; superlative Palest
  1. Wanting in color; not ruddy; dusky white; pallid; wan; as, a pale face; a pale red; a pale blue. "Pale as a forpined ghost." Chaucer.
    Speechless he stood and pale. Milton.
    They are not of complexion red or pale. T. Randolph.
  2. Not bright or brilliant; of a faint luster or hue; dim; as, the pale light of the moon.
    The night, methinks, is but the daylight sick; It looks a little paler. Shak.
    Pale is often used in the formation of self-explaining compounds; as, pale-colored, pale-eyed, pale-faced, pale-looking, etc.
Pale noun
  1. Paleness; pallor. R. Shak.
Pale intransitive verb
imperfect & past participle Paled ; present participle & verbal noun Paling
  1. To turn pale; to lose color or luster. Whittier.
    Apt to pale at a trodden worm. Mrs. Browning.
Pale transitive verb
  1. To make pale; to diminish the brightness of.
    The glowworm shows the matin to be near, And gins to pale his uneffectual fire. Shak.
Pale noun
F. pal, fr. L. palus: cf. D. paal. See Pol a stake, and lst Pallet.
  1. A pointed stake or slat, either driven into the ground, or fastened to a rail at the top and bottom, for fencing or inclosing; a picket.
    Deer creep through when a pale tumbles down. Mortimer.
  2. That which incloses or fences in; a boundary; a limit; a fence; a palisade. "Within one pale or hedge." Robynson (More's Utopia).
  3. A space or field having bounds or limits; a limited region or place; an inclosure; -- often used figuratively. "To walk the studious cloister's pale." Milton. "Out of the pale of civilization." Macaulay.
  4. A stripe or band, as on a garment. Chaucer.
  5. (Her.) One of the greater ordinaries, being a broad perpendicular stripe in an escutcheon, equally distant from the two edges, and occupying one third of it.
  6. A cheese scoop. Simmonds.
  7. (Shipbuilding) A shore for bracing a timber before it is fastened. Spencer.
Pale transitive verb
  1. To inclose with pales, or as with pales; to encircle; to encompass; to fence off.
    [Your isle, which stands] ribbed and paled in With rocks unscalable and roaring waters. Shak.

Webster 1913