pas·​tel | \ pa-ˈstel How to pronounce pastel (audio) \

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

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of pastel in a Sentence

Noun She has a collection of pastels. She prefers a pastel like light yellow. The room is painted in a pastel shade of blue. Adjective a pastel blue to go with the pale pink walls
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are so many fun (and photo-worthy) activities to enjoy in the spring — like dyeing Easter eggs, crafting DIY spring decor, and showing off the trendiest pastel colors. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "60 Sweet Spring Instagram Captions for All of Your Sunny Photos," 12 Feb. 2021 Lin Bao licked the tips of his fingers, where the candy coloring had bled, staining his skin a mottled pastel. Elliot Ackerman, Wired, "2034, Part I: Peril in the South China Sea," 26 Jan. 2021 Overcast, cloudy days are best viewed through light pastel lenses. Eric Alt, Popular Science, "Best ski goggles: What to look for in a pair you’ll love," 20 Jan. 2021 As a big fan of exposed undergarments, Dua donned barely-there pastel lingerie, a pair of cut-out fishnet tights, and a shiny new set of tumbling extensions. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Dua Lipa Is Serving Some Truly Glorious Side Boob On the Cover of Rolling Stone," 15 Jan. 2021 Lopez looking unrecognisable with waist-length pastel hair. Sarah Midkiff,, "J.Lo Shows Off Purple Ombré Hair With Her New “Unicorn Barbie” Look," 29 Dec. 2020 This pastel toy activity set includes a trio of jingly macarons plus a donut rattle. Lindsey Hunter Lopez, USA TODAY, "26 cute and fun Valentine's Day gifts kids will love," 21 Jan. 2021 Several other contributors employ pastel or even bright colors but subordinate them to aggressive black gestures. Washington Post, "In the galleries: Middle East artists examine sheltering in place amid pandemic," 15 Jan. 2021 Start with buttery pastel yellows and petal pinks before experimenting with neons and other brights. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "How to Make Your Style Resolution Stick for 2021," 6 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Lara Jean's pastel tie-dye matching set brings a subtle pop of color, which works for her casual hangouts with Kitty and Christine. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "How to Get Lara Jean's Adorable Style from "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" for Cheap," 11 Feb. 2021 The pastel one-pieces, neon cardigans, and v-neck swimsuits studded with crystals capture that feeling, as do the pattern-heavy caftans featuring abstract images of flower petals and woodblock prints. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "How Thailand’s Biggest Swimwear Label Went Sustainable," 17 Dec. 2020 Marching elephants in a pastel palette to a child hugging a pint-sized planet. Dianne Solis, Dallas News, "A West Dallas mural fest welcomes viewers for drive-by viewing, pandemic relief," 23 Oct. 2020 Someone at Chevrolet decided that the failing Corvair could be repositioned as an ideal runabout for women: rear-engined and thus light-steering, gutless enough not to frighten a spinster, cute as a button in pastel colors. Bruce Mccall, The New Yorker, "My Life in Cars," 12 Dec. 2020 Take the pastel wonderland of 1920s–1950s hotels in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood. Jennifer Barger, Travel, "Why it’s important to save historic hotels," 3 Dec. 2020 His wholesome jocks come off slightly frayed at the edges, sun-bleached in pastel corals, lime greens, and lilacs with shaggy shearling boots on their feet. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "How Eli Russell Linnetz Built the Ultimate Californian Brand," 12 Nov. 2020 If your tree features a more subdued color palette, the ornaments are also available in muted pastel tones and as an all-gold set. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Target's 2020 Holiday Collection Just Dropped and, Yes, We Want Everything," 2 Nov. 2020 At the beginning of the video, Gaga's eyes are coated in pastel-blue eye shadow that extends all the way through her eyebrows. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "Lady Gaga's "911" Video Features 6 Epic Makeup Moments," 18 Sep. 2020

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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Learn More about pastel

Statistics for pastel

Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pastel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 How to pronounce pastel (audio) \

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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