bu·​col·​ic | \byü-ˈkä-lik \

Definition of bucolic 

1 : of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen : pastoral

2a : relating to or typical of rural life

b : idyllic

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Other Words from bucolic

bucolically \ -​li-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for bucolic


country, pastoral, rural, rustic (also rustical)



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The Origin of Bucolic Is "Utterly" Quaint

We get bucolic from the Latin word bucolicus, which is ultimately from the Greek word boukolos, meaning "cowherd." When bucolic was first used in English in the early 17th century, it meant "pastoral" in a narrow sense - that is, it referred to things related to shepherds or herdsmen and in particular to pastoral poetry. Later in the 19th century, it was applied more broadly to things rural or rustic. Bucolic has also been occasionally used as a noun meaning "a pastoral poem" or "a bucolic person."

Examples of bucolic in a Sentence

Pine Ridge …  . Its generic blandness and vaguely bucolic quality anticipated similar names—the Oak Parks and River Groves and Lake Forests and Chestnut Hills … — Ian Frazier, On the Rez, 2000 … the massive population growth has transformed a collection of bucolic villages and mill towns into a chain of strip-mall suburbs. — Jonathan Cohn, New Republic, 7 Feb. 2000 … Intel gives its generations of microprocessors such bucolic code names as Deschutes, Tillamook, and Katmai but then rolls them out with names that rival those of popes and medieval heads of state: Pentium the III, Celeron the Meek, and Xeon the Magnificent. — Jake Kirchner, PC Magazine, 25 May 1999 … the North Shore commuter train scuds through bucolic landscape for a while, the rocks and trees permitting glimpses of Appleton Farms … — John Updike, New England Monthly, October 1989 a bucolic region where farms are still common
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Recent Examples on the Web

And so in this bucolic setting, the self-driving revolution seems far off. Tamara Warren, The Verge, "Monterey Car Week is where the past and future of automobiles collide," 29 Aug. 2018 On its face, this gives us time to pause and look around and enjoy the scenery: the bucolic locations, the flawless acting, the gorgeous imagery. Aja Romano, Vox, "In Sharp Objects, secrets are the sharpest weapons of all," 30 July 2018 Outside the window though, there's no rooster crowing or sun creeping over a bucolic field: Sonia lives in a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "Gardening Led This Veteran to a New Life of Hope and Healing," 13 July 2018 Image Stretching across 800 square miles of bucolic hills, Britain’s Cotswolds region includes countless charming villages in five counties that personify the enduring appeal of the English countryside. New York Times, "36 Hours in the Cotswolds," 17 May 2018 The wheels had been aging in a nondescript warehouse here amid a bucolic setting of rolling green hills, vineyards and hilltop castles. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Someone Is Stealing Italy’s Most Precious Cheese," 22 June 2018 In Kaysersberg, which has flourished from tourists who flock here for the restaurants and hotels, and for the bucolic landscapes nearby, residents expressed puzzlement at Mr. Bourdain’s death. New York Times, "Sorrow and Questions in a French Village After Anthony Bourdain’s Suicide," 9 June 2018 Location: West Tisbury, Massachusetts Price: $2,250,000 ’Tis the season for Martha’s Vineyard, the bucolic Massachusetts island retreat with beautiful small towns, beaches, and farmland. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Restored 1756 Martha’s Vineyard farmhouse asks $2.25M," 10 July 2018 Although the main industry is a prison, this seemingly bucolic place attracts enough moneyed weekenders to support a poets’ colony and some serious real-estate investors. Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, "Hate Thy Neighbor. Or Maybe Just Kill Him.," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bucolic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bucolic

circa 1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bucolic

Latin bucolicus, from Greek boukolikos, from boukolos cowherd, from bous head of cattle + -kolos (akin to Latin colere to cultivate) — more at cow, wheel

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Statistics for bucolic

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for bucolic

The first known use of bucolic was circa 1609

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English Language Learners Definition of bucolic

: of or relating to the country or country life

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