pas·to·ral·ism | \ˈpa-st(ə-)rə-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of pastoralism 

1 : the quality or style characteristic of pastoral writing

2a : livestock raising

b : social organization based on livestock raising as the primary economic activity

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pastoralism

pastoralist \ˈpa-st(ə-)rə-list \ noun or adjective

Examples of pastoralism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There is still a green thread of pastoralism, with Delius, Butterworth and Bax all represented, and Mr. Elder seems most comfortable in that idiom. David Allen, New York Times, "A Critic’s First Orchestra Defines Britain’s Musical Soul," 15 June 2018 Many conflicts play out in rural areas characterized by smallholder agriculture or pastoralism. Leah Samberg, USA TODAY, "World hunger increases for the first time in 15 years," 19 Oct. 2017 The human population of the reserve belongs to two main ethnic groups, Touaregs and Peulhs, totalling close to 20,000 inhabitants, whose main activity is nomadic pastoralism. Alex Treadway, National Geographic, "UN Announces 23 New Nature Reserves While U.S. Removes 17," 14 June 2017 The main livelihood activities are pastoralism (raising of cows, goats, sheep and camels) and/or subsistence farming — raising food crops for one’s household. Vincent Kituku, idahostatesman, "Drought produces famine in Kenya," 2 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of pastoralism

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pastoralism

Share pastoralism

Statistics for pastoralism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pastoralism

The first known use of pastoralism was in 1842

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on pastoralism

See words that rhyme with pastoralism Encyclopedia article about pastoralism

Comments on pastoralism

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!