bu·​col·​ic | \ byü-ˈkä-lik How to pronounce bucolic (audio) \

Definition of bucolic

1 : of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen : pastoral
2a : relating to or typical of rural life

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Other Words from bucolic

bucolically \ byü-​ˈkä-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce bucolically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for bucolic



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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 Classmates repeat similar sentiments around the bucolic campus of St. Charles, where buildings are dotted with paintings of Bible scenes and reminders of papal visits and chapels vibrate with blasts of the organ. Matt Sedensky, Anchorage Daily News, "After abuse scandals, seminarians pledge to ‘get it right’," 17 Feb. 2020 The existence of pathogens in food helped him build a lucrative law career and move his family from a 500-square-foot cabin to a spacious home on bucolic Bainbridge Island, with views of Puget Sound. Washington Post, "He helped make burgers safer. Now he’s fighting food poisoning again.," 19 Jan. 2020 This town, which lies just more than a mile from the border with Lebanon, is known for its clean air, snowcapped mountain views, and bucolic way of life. NBC News, "Israeli town knows conflict with Iran-linked militants, hopes more is not to come," 9 Jan. 2020 The state premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, said 17 people were still missing as fires swept alpine resorts and the normally bucolic Gippsland area. Jamie Tarabay, New York Times, "‘It’s Going to Be a Blast Furnace’: Australia Fires Intensify," 2 Jan. 2020 The young camper taught himself to play the piano, wrote songs and staged bucolic musicals. BostonGlobe.com, "Jerry Herman, the Broadway composer-lyricist who gave America the rousing, old-fashioned musicals “Hello, Dolly!” and “Mame” in the 1960s and Broadway’s first musical featuring gay lovers, “La Cage aux Folles,” in the 1980s, died Thursday at a hospital in Miami. He was 88.," 31 Dec. 2019 There's a rambling house and converted warehouse in the bucolic, verdant hills that were once among the worst killing grounds of World War II. Arkansas Online, "75 years on, Battle of the Bulge memories bond people," 15 Dec. 2019 He was murdered at his home in Goshen, part of Tulare County, a bucolic area of central California lined with farmland and orchards. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, "Ex-wife fatally shoots police officer husband as he sits on toilet," 7 Dec. 2019 Since this is a Malick movie, that cataclysm is represented with stark, sweeping scenery: rolling bucolic landscapes disrupted by the arrival of troops and blue skies suddenly darkening as they’re broken up by thunderous storms. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Terrence Malick Is Back," 14 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for bucolic

Time Traveler

The first known use of bucolic was circa 1609

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Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bucolic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bucolic. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce bucolic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bucolic

literary + formal : of or relating to the country or country life

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