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beyond the pale
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Pale \Pale\, n. [F. pal, fr. L. palus: cf. D. paal. See Pole a stake, and 1st 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. [1913 Webster] Deer creep through when a pale tumbles down. --Mortimer. [1913 Webster] 2. That which incloses or fences in; a boundary; a limit; a fence; a palisade. "Within one pale or hedge." --Robynson (More's Utopia). [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster] 4. Hence: A region within specified bounds, whether or not enclosed or demarcated. [PJC] 5. A stripe or band, as on a garment. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 6. (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. [1913 Webster] 7. A cheese scoop. --Simmonds. [1913 Webster] 8. (Shipbuilding) A shore for bracing a timber before it is fastened. [1913 Webster] English pale, Irish pale (Hist.), the limits or territory in Eastern Ireland within which alone the English conquerors of Ireland held dominion for a long period after their invasion of the country by Henry II in 1172. See note, below. beyond the pale outside the limits of what is allowed or proper; also, outside the limits within which one is protected. --Spencer. [1913 Webster +PJC] Note: The English Pale. That part of Ireland in which English law was acknowledged, and within which the dominion of the English was restricted, for some centuries after the conquests of Henry II. John distributed the part of Ireland then subject to England into 12 counties palatine, and this region became subsequently known as the Pale, but the limits varied at different times. [Century Dict., 1906]