What is the difference between pale and light?

pale | light | Synonyms |

Pale is a synonym of light.

In context|obsolete|lang=en terms the difference between pale and light

is that pale is (obsolete) paleness; pallor while light is (obsolete) unchaste, wanton.

In context|archaic|lang=en terms the difference between pale and light

is that pale is (archaic) the jurisdiction (territorial or otherwise) of an authority while light is (archaic) to alight.

As adjectives the difference between pale and light

is that pale is light in color while light is having light or light can be of low weight; not heavy.

As verbs the difference between pale and light

is that pale is to turn pale; to lose colour or pale can be to enclose with pales, or as if with pales; to encircle or encompass; to fence off while light is to start (a fire) or light can be (nautical) to unload a ship, or to jettison material to make it lighter or light can be to find by chance.

As nouns the difference between pale and light

is that pale is (obsolete) paleness; pallor or pale can be wooden stake while light is (uncountable)  the natural medium emanating from the sun and other very hot sources (now recognised as electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of 400-750 nm), within which vision is possible or light can be (curling) a stone that is not thrown hard enough.

As a adverb light is

carrying little.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?



Etymology 1

From (etyl), from (etyl) pale, from (etyl) .


  • Light in color.
  • :
  • *
  • *:“Heavens!” exclaimed Nina, “the blue-stocking and the fogy!—and yours are'' pale blue, Eileen!—you’re about as self-conscious as Drina—slumping there with your hair tumbling ''à la Mérode! Oh, it's very picturesque, of course, but a straight spine and good grooming is better.”
  • (lb) Having a pallor (a light color, especially due to sickness, shock, fright etc.).
  • :
  • *{{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=5 citation , passage=Mr. Campion appeared suitably impressed and she warmed to him. He was very easy to talk to with those long clown lines in his pale face, a natural goon, born rather too early she suspected.}}


  • To turn pale; to lose colour.
  • * Elizabeth Browning
  • Apt to pale at a trodden worm.
  • To become insignificant.
  • 2006' New York Times ''Its financing '''pales next to the tens of billions that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will have at its disposal, ...
  • * 12 July 2012 , Sam Adams, AV Club Ice Age: Continental Drift
  • The matter of whether the world needs a fourth Ice Age movie pales beside the question of why there were three before it, but Continental Drift feels less like an extension of a theatrical franchise than an episode of a middling TV cartoon, lolling around on territory that’s already been settled.
  • To make pale; to diminish the brightness of.
  • * Shakespeare
  • The glowworm shows the matin to be near, / And gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
    Derived terms
    * pale in comparison


  • (obsolete) Paleness; pallor.
  • (Shakespeare)

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl), from (etyl) pal, from (etyl) .


    (en noun)
  • A wooden stake; a picket.
  • * Mortimer
  • Deer creep through when a pale tumbles down.
  • (archaic) Fence made from wooden stake; palisade.
  • * 1615 , Ralph Hamor, A True Discourse of the Present State of Virginia , Richmond 1957, p. 13:
  • Fourthly, they shall not vpon any occasion whatsoeuer breake downe any of our pales , or come into any of our Townes or forts by any other waies, issues or ports then ordinary [...].
  • (by extension) Limits, bounds (especially before of).
  • * Milton
  • to walk the studious cloister's pale
  • * 1900 , :
  • Men so situated, beyond the pale of the honor and the law, are not to be trusted.
  • * 1919 , B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols, :
  • All things considered, we advise the male reader to keep his desires in check till he is at least twenty-five, and the female not to enter the pale of wedlock until she has attained the age of twenty.
  • The bounds of morality, good behaviour or judgment in civilized company, in the phrase beyond the pale .
  • (heraldiccharge) A vertical band down the middle of a shield.
  • (archaic) A territory or defensive area within a specific boundary or under a given jurisdiction.
  • # (historical) The parts of Ireland under English jurisdiction.
  • # (historical) The territory around (Calais) under English control (from the 14th to 16th centuries).
  • #* 2009 , (Hilary Mantel), Wolf Hall , Fourth Estate 2010, p. 402:
  • He knows the fortifications – crumbling – and beyond the city walls the lands of the Pale , its woods, villages and marshes, its sluices, dykes and canals.
  • #* 2011 , Thomas Penn, Winter King , Penguin 2012, p. 73:
  • A low-lying, marshy enclave stretching eighteen miles along the coast and pushing some eight to ten miles inland, the Pale of Calais nestled between French Picardy to the west and, to the east, the imperial-dominated territories of Flanders.
  • # (historical) A portion of Russia in which Jews were permitted to live.
  • (archaic) The jurisdiction (territorial or otherwise) of an authority.
  • A cheese scoop.
  • (Simmonds)
  • A shore for bracing a timber before it is fastened.
  • (Spencer)


  • To enclose with pales, or as if with pales; to encircle or encompass; to fence off.
  • [Your isle, which stands] ribbed and paled in / With rocks unscalable and roaring waters. — Shakespeare.





    Alternative forms

    * lite (informal); lyght, lyghte (obsolete) * (l) (Scotland)

    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) (m), (m), (m), from (etyl) .


    (wikipedia light) (en noun)
  • (uncountable) The natural medium emanating from the Sun and other very hot sources (now recognised as electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of 400-750 nm), within which vision is possible.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=5 , passage=Then came a maid with hand-bag and shawls, and after her a tall young lady. She stood for a moment holding her skirt above the grimy steps,
  • * {{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=3 citation , passage=Here the stripped panelling was warmly gold and the pictures, mostly of the English school, were mellow and gentle in the afternoon light .}}
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-20, volume=408, issue=8845, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Out of the gloom , passage=[Rural solar plant] schemes are of little help to industry or other heavy users of electricity. Nor is solar power yet as cheap as the grid. For all that, the rapid arrival of electric light' to Indian villages is long overdue. When the national grid suffers its next huge outage, as it did in July 2012 when hundreds of millions were left in the dark, look for specks of ' light in the villages.}}
  • A source of illumination.
  • * , chapter=5
  • , title= The Mirror and the Lamp , passage=He was thinking; but the glory of the song, the swell from the great organ, the clustered lights , […], the height and vastness of this noble fane, its antiquity and its strength—all these things seemed to have their part as causes of the thrilling emotion that accompanied his thoughts.}}
  • Spiritual or mental illumination; enlightenment, useful information.
  • * Shakespeare
  • He shall never know / That I had any light of this from thee.
  • Facts; pieces of information; ideas, concepts.
  • * , Book I, New York 2001, page 166:
  • Now these notions are twofold, actions or habits […], which are durable lights and notions, which we may use when we will.
  • A notable person within a specific field or discipline.
  • * Tennyson
  • Joan of Arc, a light of ancient France
  • (painting) The manner in which the light strikes a picture; that part of a picture which represents those objects upon which the light is supposed to fall; the more illuminated part of a landscape or other scene; opposed to shade .
  • A point of view, or aspect from which a concept, person or thing is regarded.
  • * South
  • Frequent consideration of a thing shows it in its several lights and various ways of appearance.
  • A flame or something used to create fire.
  • A firework made by filling a case with a substance which burns brilliantly with a white or coloured flame.
  • a Bengal light
  • A window, or space for a window in architecture.
  • The series of squares reserved for the answer to a crossword clue.
  • (informal) A cross-light in a double acrostic or triple acrostic.
  • Open view; a visible state or condition; public observation; publicity.
  • * Shakespeare
  • The duke yet would have dark deeds darkly answered; he would never bring them to light .
  • The power of perception by vision.
  • * Bible, Psalms xxxviii. 10
  • My strength faileth me; as for the light of my eyes, it also is gone from me.
  • The brightness of the eye or eyes.
  • * Shakespeare
  • He seemed to find his way without his eyes; / For out o'door he went without their helps, / And, to the last, bended their light on me.
  • A traffic light, or, by extension, an intersection controlled by one.
  • Synonyms
    * (electromagnetic wave perceived by the eye) visible light
    Derived terms
    * ancient lights * black light * booklight * bring to light * come to light * fanlight * footlight * gaslight * half-light * headlight * hide one's light under a bushel * lamplight * light at the end of the tunnel * light box, lightbox * light bucket * light globe * Light of the World * lightbulb * lighthouse * ! * moonlight * nightlight * searchlight * see the light * skylight * spotlight * strike a light * sunlight * twilight * Very light * white light

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) (m), (m), from (etyl) .


  • To start (a fire).
  • We lit the fire to get some heat.
  • To set fire to; to set burning; to kindle.
  • She lit her last match.
  • * Hakewill
  • if a thousand candles be all lighted from one
  • * Addison
  • Absence might cure it, or a second mistress / Light up another flame, and put out this.
  • To illuminate.
  • I used my torch to light the way home through the woods in the night.
  • * F. Harrison
  • One hundred years ago, to have lit' this theatre as brilliantly as it is now ' lighted would have cost, I suppose, fifty pounds.
  • * Dryden
  • The Sun has set, and Vesper, to supply / His absent beams, has lighted up the sky.
  • To become ignited; to take fire.
  • This soggy match will not light .
  • To attend or conduct with a light; to show the way to by means of a light.
  • * Landor
  • His bishops lead him forth, and light him on.
    * ignite, kindle, conflagrate * (illuminate) illuminate, light up
    * extinguish, put out, quench
    Derived terms
    * light someone's fire * light up * highlight

    Etymology 3

    From (etyl) (m), (m), (m), from (etyl) . Cognate with (etyl) (m), (etyl) (m).


  • Having light.
  • Pale in colour.
  • *
  • , title= Mr. Pratt's Patients, chapter=1 , passage='Twas early June, the new grass was flourishing everywheres, the posies in the yard—peonies and such—in full bloom, the Sun was shining, and the water of the bay was blue, with light green streaks where the shoal showed.}}
  • (of coffee) Served with extra milk or cream.
  • Synonyms
    * (having light) bright * (pale in colour) pale * : white, with milk, with cream
    Derived terms
    * light-haired * light-skinned

    Etymology 4

    From (etyl) .


  • Of low weight; not heavy.
  • My bag was much lighter once I had dropped off the books.
  • * Addison
  • These weights did not exert their natural gravity insomuch that I could not guess which was light or heavy whilst I held them in my hand.
  • Lightly-built; designed for speed or small loads.
  • We took a light aircraft down to the city.
  • (senseid)Gentle; having little force or momentum.
  • This artist clearly had a light , flowing touch.
  • Easy to endure or perform.
  • light duties around the house
  • * Dryden
  • Light sufferings give us leisure to complain.
  • Low in fat, calories, alcohol, salt, etc.
  • This light beer still gets you drunk if you have enough of it.
  • Unimportant, trivial, having little value or significance.
  • I made some light comment, and we moved on.
  • travelling with no carriages, wagons attached
  • (obsolete) Unchaste, wanton.
  • * 1590 , Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene , I.i:
  • Long after lay he musing at her mood, / Much grieu'd to thinke that gentle Dame so light , / For whose defence he was to shed his blood.
  • * Shakespeare
  • So do not you; for you are a light girl.
  • * Shakespeare
  • A light wife doth make a heavy husband.
  • Not heavily armed; armed with light weapons.
  • light''' troops; a troop of '''light horse
  • Not encumbered; unembarrassed; clear of impediments; hence, active; nimble; swift.
  • * Francis Bacon
  • Unmarried men are best friends, best masters but not always best subjects, for they are light to run away.
  • (dated) Easily influenced by trifling considerations; unsteady; unsettled; volatile.
  • a light''', vain person; a '''light mind
  • * Tillotson
  • There is no greater argument of a light and inconsiderate person than profanely to scoff at religion.
  • Indulging in, or inclined to, levity; lacking dignity or solemnity; frivolous; airy.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Seneca can not be too heavy, nor Plautus too light .
  • * Hawthorne
  • specimens of New England humour laboriously light and lamentably mirthful
  • Not quite sound or normal; somewhat impaired or deranged; dizzy; giddy.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?
  • Not of the legal, standard, or usual weight; clipped; diminished.
  • light coin
    * (of low weight) * (lightly-built) lightweight * (having little force or momentum) delicate, gentle, soft * lite, lo-cal (low in calories), low-alcohol (low in alcohol) * (having little value or significance) inconsequential, trivial, unimportant
    * (of low weight) heavy, weighty * (lightly-built) cumbersome, heavyweight, massive * (having little force or momentum) forceful, heavy, strong * calorific (high in calories), fatty (high in fat), strong (high in alcohol) * (having little value or significance) crucial, important, weighty
    Derived terms
    * light as a feather * lightness


  • Carrying little.
  • I prefer to travel light.


    (en noun)
  • (curling) A stone that is not thrown hard enough.
  • Verb

    (en verb)
  • (nautical) To unload a ship, or to jettison material to make it lighter
  • To lighten; to ease of a burden; to take off.
  • * Spenser
  • His mailèd habergeon she did undight, / And from his head his heavy burgonet did light .
    Derived terms
    * lighter

    Etymology 5



  • To find by chance.
  • I lit upon a rare book in a second-hand bookseller's.
  • (archaic) To alight.
  • She fell out of the window but luckily lit on her feet.
    * (find by chance) chance upon, come upon, find, happen upon, hit upon * (alight) alight, land
    Derived terms
    * light into * light out