adjective \ˈpas-t(ə-)rəl\

: of or relating to the countryside or to the lives of people who live in the country

: of or relating to the spiritual care or guidance of people who are members of a religious group

: of or relating to the pastor of a church

Full Definition of PASTORAL

a (1) :  of, relating to, or composed of shepherds or herdsmen (2) :  devoted to or based on livestock raising
b :  of or relating to the countryside :  not urban <a pastoral setting>
c :  portraying or expressive of the life of shepherds or country people especially in an idealized and conventionalized manner <pastoral poetry>
d :  pleasingly peaceful and innocent :  idyllic
a :  of or relating to spiritual care or guidance especially of a congregation
b :  of or relating to the pastor of a church
pas·to·ral·ly \-t(ə-)rə-lē\ adverb
pas·to·ral·ness noun

Examples of PASTORAL

  1. The house is situated in a charming pastoral setting.
  2. Her favorite painting in the collection is a pastoral landscape.
  3. The bishop outlined the church's views in a pastoral letter.

Origin of PASTORAL

Middle English, from Latin pastoralis, from pastor herdsman
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Animal Husbandry Terms

apiary, bantam, calico, girth, hogwash, mast, rut


noun \ˈpas-t(ə-)rəl; 1d is often ˌpas-tə-ˈräl, -ˈral\

Definition of PASTORAL

a :  a literary work (as a poem or play) dealing with shepherds or rural life in a usually artificial manner and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of the simple life and the misery and corruption of city and especially court life
b :  pastoral poetry or drama
c :  a rural picture or scene
d :  pastorale 1a
:  crosier 1
:  a letter of a pastor to his charge: as
a :  a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese
b :  a letter of the house of bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be read in each parish

First Known Use of PASTORAL


Other Literature Terms

apophasis, bathos, bildungsroman, bowdlerize, caesura, coda, doggerel, euphemism, poesy, prosody


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Literary work dealing in a usually artificial manner with shepherds or rural life, typically contrasting the innocence and serenity of the simple life with the misery and corruption of city or court life. The characters are often the vehicles for the author's moral, social, or literary views. The poet and his friends are often presented as shepherds and shepherdesses; two or more shepherds sometimes contend in “singing matches.” The conventions of pastoral poetry were largely established by Theocritus, whose bucolics are its earliest examples. Virgil's Eclogues were influential as well, as was Edmund Spenser's Shepheardes Calender in the Renaissance. The idea of pastoral as meaning a simpler world that somehow mirrors a more complex one also appears in novelists as different as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Lewis Carroll, and William Faulkner. See also eclogue.


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