Definition of paleface in US English:



  • A white person (used in fictional representations of the speech of North American Indians).

    • ‘Instead, he emphasizes that Indians can use the notion of ancient authority to justify any course of action, just like the palefaces can.’
    • ‘Yet to the paleface who is fluent, this can be rather annoying.’
    • ‘A Caucasian driver never drives you and it's rare to find a paleface serving anyone, unless attired in a stiff blazer and clashing tie, their teeth mirroring your complete isolation in this place.’
    • ‘Our knowledge of the paleface was limited, but we had learned that he brought goods whenever he came, and that our people exchanged furs for his merchandise.’
    • ‘But his dislike of its mixed-race, paleface composition became more pronounced - and his black nationalist ideology became blacker by degrees.’


Early 18th century (in the sense ‘person whose face is pale as a result of fear or shock’): the sense ‘white person’ dates from the early 19th century and was popularized by American writers such as James Fenimore Cooper (see Cooper, James Fenimore).