bu·​col·​ic byü-ˈkä-lik How to pronounce bucolic (audio)
: of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen : pastoral
: relating to or typical of rural life
bucolically adverb

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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 as an adjective 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
Recent Examples on the Web Set in the kitchens, dining rooms and neighboring farms of a Michelin three-star establishment in the bucolic Loire region, the film uncovers the alchemy that makes such places succeed. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Sep. 2023 The grassy backyard was bucolic; Ms. Maisonet envisioned a pool. Ella Koeze, New York Times, 16 Sep. 2023 Season 14 of the Great British Bake Off (or the Great British Baking Show in the US) premiers September 29 on Netflix and lovers of bucolic b-roll of the English countryside and amateur bakers alike are clutching their bundt pans in excitement. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 16 Sep. 2023 The Ryes, presiding over 16 undulating acres in the bucolic hamlet of Little Henny, about 60 miles northeast of central London, was originally designed in 1809 by Robert Lugar for aristocrat Nathaniel Barnardiston. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 14 Sep. 2023 The capture of Cavalcante without gunfire or injury to police or the public brought a swift finish to a lengthy, dramatic saga that had unnerved a bucolic swath of suburban Philadelphia and drawn national attention. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2023 After more than a week of focusing on an area south of the county jail, the search moved about 30 miles to the north, to a bucolic stretch of stone barns and thick woods south of Pottstown, Pa. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2023 The attention-grabbing opening has a group of excitable young girls in mid-flight through a bucolic field, shouting Andrzej’s name and jeering after the kid has run off in one of their First Holy Communion veils and scrambled up a tree. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Sep. 2023 Hardwood Flooring This bucolic cottage in Amagansett, New York, features light wood flooring that contrasts against the dark furnishings. Ellen Morrissey, ELLE Decor, 28 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bucolic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bucolic was circa 1609


Dictionary Entries Near bucolic

Cite this Entry

“Bucolic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bucolic. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


bu·​col·​ic byü-ˈkäl-ik How to pronounce bucolic (audio)

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