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pale + face, a calque from a Native American language. First appearing in print in the early 19th century.
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paleface (plural palefaces)
- (derogatory, slang) A white person; a person of European descent.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:white person
- 1889, Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Sketches from Memory”, in The Great Stone Face and Other Tales of the White Mountains:
- The hearts of the palefaces would not thrill to these superstitions of the red men, though we spoke of them in the centre of the haunted region.
- 1905, Edward S. Ellis, Deerfoot in The Mountains:
- The dusky hunters "guyed" the palefaces who could not do as well as they with their primitive weapons, even though the fire spouted from the iron tubes and the balls that could not be seen by the eye carried death farther than did the missiles launched by the natives.
- 1908, Zane Grey, The Last of the Plainsmen:
- "Yes me big paleface—me come long way toward setting sun—go cross Big Water—go Buckskin—Siwash—chase cougar." The cougar, or mountain lion, is a Navajo god and the Navajos hold him in as much fear and reverence as do the Great Slave Indians the musk-ox.
- 1916 March 11, “Silly Place-Names”, in Saturday Evening Post:
- Some Blackfeet Indians, with a taste and a respect for Nature that shames the paleface, have protested to the Secretary of the Interior […]
- 1998, Jim Goad, The Redneck Manifesto (page 128)
- Speed is whitey's drug, from the palefaces who cook it to the Caspers who deal it to the ofay vanilla wafers who snort or spike it.
- See the usage notes about whiteface.
a white person of European descent, in the context of American Indians