pastoral

adjective
pas·​to·​ral | \ ˈpa-st(ə-)rəl How to pronounce pastoral (audio) , nonstandard pa-ˈstȯr-əl\

Definition of pastoral

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : of, relating to, or composed of shepherds or herdsmen a pastoral people, seminomadic in their habits— J. M. Mogey
(2) : devoted to or based on livestock raising a pastoral economy
b : of or relating to the countryside : not urban a pastoral setting
c : portraying or expressive of the life of shepherds or country people especially in an idealized and conventionalized manner pastoral poetry a pastoral symphony
d : pleasingly peaceful and innocent : idyllic pastoral dreams were shattered by the year's round of … unwelcome visitors, ruinous floods and procrastinating workmen— Betty Fussell
2a : of or relating to spiritual care or guidance especially of a congregation pastoral counseling
b : of or relating to the pastor of a church pastoral duties

pastoral

noun
\ ˈpa-st(ə-)rəl How to pronounce pastoral (audio) ; sense 1d is often ˌpa-stə-ˈräl, -ˈral How to pronounce pastoral (audio) \

Definition of pastoral (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a literary work (such as a poem or play) dealing with shepherds or rural life in a usually artificial manner and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of the simple life and the misery and corruption of city and especially court life
b : pastoral poetry or drama
c : a rural picture or scene
3 : a letter of a pastor to his charge: such as
a : a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese
b : a letter of the house of bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be read in each parish

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Other Words from pastoral

Adjective

pastorally \ ˈpa-​st(ə-​)rə-​lē How to pronounce pastorally (audio) \ adverb
pastoralness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for pastoral

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of pastoral in a Sentence

Adjective The house is situated in a charming pastoral setting. Her favorite painting in the collection is a pastoral landscape. The bishop outlined the church's views in a pastoral letter.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As the director of spiritual care, Trego oversees a full-time staff chaplain and two residents who are there to learn about pastoral care. Jamie Swinnerton, Houston Chronicle, "Rev. Randall Trego leads with listening as director of spiritual care for Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital," 30 Aug. 2019 To further confuse us, butter brands employ marketing shticks, such as romantic pastoral packaging or bolded words that define their purported attributes. Lucinda Scala Quinn, Washington Post, "How to put fancy, high-fat butter to its best use," 21 June 2019 For a more pastoral berth, seek out one of many mountain huts dotting the region. Danielle Bernabe, National Geographic, "Eat, drink, and herd cattle at this Austrian festival," 15 Sep. 2019 About half an hour west on Route 74, decaying strip malls and big-box tombstones of the retail apocalypse give way to pastoral farmland and distant peaks, as the Blue Ridge Mountains come into view. BostonGlobe.com, "Visiting Asheville? It’s like Brooklyn. But cooler.," 13 Sep. 2019 But Africa also presents pastoral problems that seem at times beyond the reach of any religious leader, no matter how charismatic. The Economist, "Why Pope Francis struggles in Africa," 7 Sep. 2019 The Archdiocese of Seattle has 169 parishes, missions and pastoral centers across Western Washington. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "New Catholic archbishop appointed to the Archdiocese of Seattle," 3 Sep. 2019 Yet the idea of leaving the pastoral lure of their 5,000-person hamlet for relative safety of the Bay Area was too much. Katy Steinmetz/ukiah, Time, "California Is Stepping Up Fire Prevention Efforts—But It Hasn't Fixed One of the Biggest Problems," 2 July 2019 Morrison’s work had to be conceived somewhere, after all, and the album’s otherworldly pastoral vibe means that almost any earthly answer — any place other than an unknown planet covered only in ferns and flutes — would be a surprise. John Williams, New York Times, "1968 Revisited: A Boston Commune and a Van Morrison Classic," 12 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now a new documentary will look at the history of this genre, in which the pastoral is routinely entwined with the painful. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Before Midsommar: New documentary to tell the history of folk-horror genre," 10 July 2019 However, Hamilton's Thomas Kail lost out in the best directing race to Sam Mendes for Jez Butterworth's modern Irish pastoral, The Ferryman, which is scheduled to transfer to Broadway in the fall. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Olivier Awards 2018: Full List of Winners," 8 Apr. 2018 The result is something that is looser and more open-ended, less hard science fiction than a dreamy kind of science pastoral, albeit one populated with mutant crocodiles. George Pendle, Esquire, "Alex Garland Mutated Annihilation Into a Psychedelic Sci-Fi Horror," 21 Feb. 2018 Ashbery chose fractured pastoral; Rich extracted metaphors from geology, archaeology, astronomy and biology. Wayne Koestenbaum, New York Times, "Book Review Newsletter," 15 July 2016

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Noun

1584, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pastoral

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Latin pastoralis, from pastor herdsman

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Statistics for pastoral

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for pastoral

The first known use of pastoral was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for pastoral

pastoral

adjective
How to pronounce pastoral (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pastoral

: of or relating to the countryside or to the lives of people who live in the country
: of or relating to the spiritual care or guidance of people who are members of a religious group
: of or relating to the pastor of a church

pastoral

adjective
pas·​to·​ral | \ ˈpa-stə-rəl How to pronounce pastoral (audio) \

Kids Definition of pastoral

1 : of or relating to peaceful scenes of the countryside
2 : of or relating to the pastor of a church

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Comments on pastoral

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