pas·​tel | \ pa-ˈstel \

Definition of pastel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a paste made of powdered pigment ranging from pale to deep colors and used for making crayons also : a crayon made of such paste
2a : a drawing in pastel
b : the process or art of drawing with pastels
3 : a light literary sketch
4 : any of various pale or light colors



Definition of pastel (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : of or relating to a pastel
b : made with pastels
2 : pale and light in color
3 : lacking in body or vigor

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Synonyms & Antonyms for pastel

Synonyms: Adjective

dull, dulled, faded, light, pale, washed-out, washy

Antonyms: Adjective

dark, deep, gay, rich

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Examples of pastel in a Sentence


She has a collection of pastels. She prefers a pastel like light yellow. The room is painted in a pastel shade of blue.


a pastel blue to go with the pale pink walls
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Flowing dresses with long trains, unique hemlines, florals, golds and pastel shades added high style. Nikki Delamotte,, "Glenville High School and Ginn Academy students celebrate 2018 prom at St. Noel's Banquet Center (photos)," 12 May 2018 Jack Wills Plaid Prom Dress, $99, Aria's vampy-glam gown Big princess dresses don't have come in typical pastel shades like blue and purple. Elizabeth Denton, Seventeen, "5 Prom Dresses Inspired By The "PLL" Spring Finale That You Can Buy Right Now," 25 Mar. 2015 This gives you the opportunity to explore vivid colors like pastels, which will fade and eventually wash out over three to four weeks' time. Sam Escobar, Good Housekeeping, "How Young Is Too Young to Dye Your Kid's Hair?," 15 Oct. 2018 To fit the pastel, fantasy vibe, several of the GOT7 boys officially revealed new dye jobs and hairstyles. Devon Abelman, Allure, "See K-Pop Group GOT7's Best Hair and Makeup Looks from the New "Lullaby" Music Video," 17 Sep. 2018 At the show, Mr. Wilson stood for eight hours each day in a 10x10 booth, talking about his paintings and pastels. Daniel Grant, WSJ, "He Sells His Paintings—From Fair to Fair," 25 Nov. 2018 Expect neon and pastel shades to fade quicker than darker ones, though. Devon Abelman, Allure, "How to Achieve the Bold Green Hair-Color Trend Like a Celebrity," 29 Aug. 2018 That said, Paula Hian’s spring 2018 is all about saturated pastels — blush pink, lemony yellow, and grass green — A-line dresses in shrunken jackets with matching midi-skirts. Elizabeth Wellington,, "Welcome to Paula Hian's King of Prussia pop-up | Elizabeth Wellington," 12 July 2018 Treasures from the Vault / June 30-January 6, 2019 Head to the Museum of Fine Arts to see 40 rarely exhibited pastels by Monet, Renoir, Manet, and more., "Things to do in Greater Boston this summer," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Some even wore full-blown flowered and feathered church hats, and a handful of little girls in pastel dresses danced in place, counting the minutes for tea service to begin. Beth Spotswood, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF’s Crown and Crumpet’s high tea just the thing for royal wedding," 22 May 2018 The film's costume designer, Mary Vogt, worked with director Jon M. Chu to create some unforgettable looks, from Araminta's wedding gown (which was really a bodysuit with a skirt attachment) to Rachel's Cinderella moment in the pastel blue Marchesa. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "The 10 Best Fashion Movies That Aren't The Devil Wears Prada," 24 Dec. 2018 Crisp photography, sans-serif fonts, and pastel colors. Diana Budds, Curbed, "The rise of the direct-to-consumer home," 21 Dec. 2018 There are simple, neutral colors woven into a cable-knit, while others feature corset-like detailing at the bodice, pastel hues, and bright stripes. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Pouf! Just Like That, the Balloon-Sleeved Sweater Is Back for Winter," 12 Nov. 2018 The color scheme gave us major galaxy vibes, and as Teen Vogue's own Fashion News Editor Alyssa Hardy put it, was not terribly unlike her 2018 Met Gala gown worn in May, which also featured ethereal swirls of muted pastel hues. Kristin Corpuz, Teen Vogue, "Lush Teases New Ariana Grande Themed Bath Bomb on Instagram," 17 July 2018 Many of above recommendations still apply but women should feel free to mix in pastel hues, especially for summer weddings. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "What "Black Tie" Means Now," 9 July 2018 These pastel hues are at home with drought-resistant perennials without overwhelming them both literally and visually. Maureen Gilmer, sacbee, "For gorgeous blooms in the summer heat, you can’t beat lantanas," 22 June 2018 The facades are laid with gorgeous ceramic tiles, usually imported from England or Belgium, and painted enchanting pastel hues of baby pink, buttercup yellow, and aquamarine. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Things To Do In Singapore," 2 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pastel.' 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 pastel


1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1884, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pastel


French, from Italian pastello, from Late Latin pastellus woad, from diminutive of pasta

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Statistics for pastel

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for pastel

The first known use of pastel was in 1612

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More Definitions for pastel



English Language Learners Definition of pastel

: a type of chalk made from a powdery substance that is used for drawing and comes in many different colors

: a drawing that is done using pastels

: a pale or light color


pas·​tel | \ pa-ˈstel \

Kids Definition of pastel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a soft pale color
2 : a crayon made by mixing ground coloring matter with a watery solution of a gum
3 : a drawing made with pastels



Kids Definition of pastel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made with pastels
2 : light and pale in color a pastel blouse

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More from Merriam-Webster on pastel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pastel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pastel

Spanish Central: Translation of pastel

Nglish: Translation of pastel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pastel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pastel

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