pas·​to·​rale | \ ˌpa-stə-ˈräl How to pronounce pastorale (audio) , -ˈral also -ˈrä-lē How to pronounce pastorale (audio) \

Definition of pastorale

1a : an instrumental or vocal composition having a pastoral theme
b : 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, "Amy Beach, a Pioneering American Composer, Turns 150," 1 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pastorale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of pastorale

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for pastorale

Italian, from pastorale of herdsmen, from Latin pastoralis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pastorale

Time Traveler for pastorale

Time Traveler

The first known use of pastorale was in 1614

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pastorale

Cite this Entry

“Pastorale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on pastorale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pastorale

Comments on pastorale

What made you want to look up pastorale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!