pas·​to·​rale ˌpa-stə-ˈräl How to pronounce pastorale (audio) -ˈral How to pronounce pastorale (audio)
 also  -ˈrä-lē
: an instrumental or vocal composition having a pastoral theme
: an opera of the 16th or 17th centuries having a pastoral plot

Examples of pastorale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Including 55 serious operas, 6 cantatas, 53 comic operas, 17 operettas, 6 sing-spiele, 4 ballets, 4 vaudevilles, 2 oratorios, one each of fares, pastorales, masques, ballads and buffas. William Robin, New York Times, 1 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pastorale.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian, from pastorale of herdsmen, from Latin pastoralis

First Known Use

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of pastorale was in 1614

Dictionary Entries Near pastorale

Cite this Entry

“Pastorale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


pas·​to·​rale ˌpas-tə-ˈräl How to pronounce pastorale (audio) -ˈral How to pronounce pastorale (audio)
: a piece of music for instruments or voices that suggests rural scenes

More from Merriam-Webster on pastorale

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