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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2009-02-03 17:53:41

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2211

beyond the pail << beyond the pale

At supper tonight my wife, talking about religious prejudices between two denominations in her home town, said that one group thought the other was “outside the pail.”

I corrected her. “That’s ‘beyond the pale.’ The pale was a fence outside Dublin….”

“No,” she interrupted. “Outside the pail. Not in the same pail.”

Uh-oh, I thought, trouble. In an earlier post I discussed “b-line,” Arnold Zwicky’s principal example of what he calls a “pail.” ( … hp?id=3029). I found some evidence that “b-line” was an eggcorn and not a pail. But I assumed that “pail” itself, borrowed from the phrase “beyond the pail,” was still its own best example. Now I wonder. Could many of those who write “beyond the pail” be using it in the sense of “outside the bucket” and thus eggcorning the word “pale?”

Houston, we have a problem.

Last edited by kem (2009-02-04 01:18:46)



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