pas·​to·​ral·​ism | \ ˈpa-st(ə-)rə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce pastoralism (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pastoralist (audio) \ noun or adjective

Examples of pastoralism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With pastoralism and agriculture, the animal was just an animal, forever separated from man. New York Times, "‘The Celestial Hunter,’ by Roberto Calasso: An Excerpt," 28 Apr. 2020 Here, capitalism and pastoralism are often seen as opposing forces. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "There Are No Losers in the Animal Crossing Economy," 15 Apr. 2020 But according to the Tom Nook doctrine, pastoralism and capitalism coexist perfectly. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "There Are No Losers in the Animal Crossing Economy," 15 Apr. 2020 Our survey also revealed that hunting and foraging was generally replaced by pastoralism (raising animals such as cows and sheep for food and other resources) and agriculture in most places, though there were exceptions. Ben Marwick, The Conversation, "Surveying archaeologists across the globe reveals deeper and more widespread roots of the human age, the Anthropocene," 29 Aug. 2019 Today the national park has put measures in place to assure that pastoralism can work alongside conservationism: Farmers are insured and compensated if one of their animals is preyed upon by a wolf. National Geographic, "How to go wild in the French Riviera," 5 Aug. 2019 The Himba response to the aridity of Kaokoland is nomadic pastoralism. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 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

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

Time Traveler for pastoralism

Time Traveler

The first known use of pastoralism was in 1842

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pastoralism

Cite this Entry

“Pastoralism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pastoralism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pastoralism

Rhyming Dictionary: 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!