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 The eight-episode series is about a young married couple living in a picture-perfect pastel rowhouse in London’s Camden Town, their sweet, goofy life and palpable mutual affection shadowed by an ongoing failure to get pregnant. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "So Sad, Can’t Stop Laughing," 4 May 2020 Or option for spring pastels from eco-friendly, organic bedding collections such as Citron and Blush from Cariloha and PlushBeds. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "8 Spring Decorating Trends To Liven Up Your Home Decor," 18 Apr. 2020 Spiritual Gangster Amor Crop Tank & Self Love Leggings This pastel set from Spiritual Gangster is perfect for lounging and workouts alike. Madeline Diamond, Travel + Leisure, "Find Your New Favorite Activewear (and Free Virtual Workouts) at Carbon38," 16 Apr. 2020 The sisters unveiled glamorous images from the campaign shoot, which shows each holding a massive perfume bottle, while wearing a curve-hugging pastel catsuit and sporting big bombshell curls. Kaitlyn Frey,, "Khloé Kardashian Goes Back to Brunette for New KKW Fragrance Campaign with Kim and Kourtney," 29 Oct. 2019 Goyette complemented the shimmering swoops and soft-focus pastel gazes with luminous skin, sculpted rosy cheeks, and slicks of sparkling nude pink Paris Matte Liquid Lipstick on the mouth. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Silver Wings! Watercolor Lids! The Kylie Cosmetics x Balmain Collection Just Made Its Runway Debut," 27 Sep. 2019 Slathered in turquoise and carmine, neons and pastels, sequences accumulate an occasional dreaminess that defies the typical constraints of low-budget filmmaking. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "‘Butt Boy’ Review: Compulsion as Comic Noir," 15 Apr. 2020 Complete with dainty springtime pastels (the eggs are dyed using Peeps!) and the cutest Peep creatures to fill the basket, even the Easter bunny will be impressed with your creation this holiday. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make an Edible Easter Basket Using Peeps," 25 Feb. 2020 This versatile pad can be used with acrylics, watercolors, charcoal, pastels, markers, pens, or pencils thanks to its heavyweight paper. Camryn Rabideau, USA TODAY, "15 products with a cult following at Michaels," 24 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The room is decorated in pastel colors and contains a rocking chair along with breast pumping supplies for mothers to pump with. al, "‘Tutwiler’ film follows incarcerated mothers forced to say goodbye to their newborns," 8 May 2020 Usually awash in pastel crowds, the racetrack and its grounds were quiet and nearly empty — like so many places in this era of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville celebrated the Kentucky Derby Day that wasn't, thanks to the coronavirus," 2 May 2020 The game includes text onscreen accompanied by gorgeous illustrations using pastel colors and details that capture the essence of each subject while also leaving much to the imagination. Trilby Beresford, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Independent Gamer: 'Arcade Spirits' Debuts on Switch, 'Fire Escape' Finds You in Lockdown," 1 May 2020 And Forman’s pastel drawings and plaster sculptures re-create ordinary objects (say, a Hallmark figurine) in odd and curious ways. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: Architect R.M. Schindler’s historic WeHo home as seen through the female gaze," 10 Oct. 2019 One day in 1951, when Magee’s mother, Marichu Beilby, an interior decorator, stopped by a picture-framing store, she was struck by a pastel drawing of a black-eyed 9-month-old baby in the window. Sam Roberts,, "Kalman Aron; his artistic talent spared him in the Holocaust," 9 Mar. 2018 One day in 1951, when Susan Magee’s mother, Marichu Beilby, an interior decorator, stopped by her regular picture-framing store, she was struck by a pastel drawing of a black-eyed 9-month-old baby in the window. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Kalman Aron, Whose Art Spared Him in the Holocaust, Dies at 93," 7 Mar. 2018 Plus, the stylish colorblocked style has the perfect pastel palette for spring. Braelyn Wood,, "This Ashley Graham-Approved Activewear Brand Just Marked a Bunch of Leggings 40% Off," 25 Apr. 2020 From pastel hues like ours to super vibrant colors, the cookies will look beautiful no matter what! The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Easter Egg Cookies," 27 Feb. 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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Time Traveler for pastel

Time Traveler

The first known use of pastel was in 1612

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Statistics for pastel

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pastel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for pastel


How to pronounce pastel (audio)

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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