beyond the pale
From pale, a jurisdiction under a given authority; often held by one nation in another country, hence suggesting that anything outside their control was uncivilized. It was in use by the mid-17th century. The phrase may be a reference to the general sense of boundary, but is often understood to refer to the English Pale in Ireland. In the nominally English territory of Ireland, only the pale fell genuinely under the authority of English law, hence the terms within the pale and beyond the pale.
- (idiomatic) Describing behaviour that is considered to be outside the bounds of morality, good behaviour or judgement in civilised company.
2012 January 27, Sarah Palin, “Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left”, Conservative Byte, accessed on 2012-02-28:
- But what we have seen in Florida this week is beyond the pale.