c.1300, from O.Fr. paile, from L. pallidus "pale, pallid, wan," from pallere "be pale, grow pale," from PIE *pol-/*pel- (see pallor). The verb is first recorded c.1300. Pale-face, supposed N.Amer. Indian word for "European," is attested from 1822.
early 14c., "fence of pointed stakes," from L. palus "stake," related to pangere "to fix or fasten" (see pact). Figurative sense of "limit, boundary, restriction" is from c.1400. Barely surviving in beyond the pale and similar phrases. Meaning "the part of Ireland under English rule" is from 1540s.