A Word A Day : Pastoral

Monday, 2nd June 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Adjective & Noun )

Pronunciation : pást-eral


1. relating to the countryside or to rural life

2. presenting an idealized image of rural life and nature

3. relating to Christian ministers or priests or their duties

4. involving the giving of personal advice and support to students on the part of a teacher as opposed to simply teaching them

5. describes land that is used as pasture

6. relating to or keeping sheep or cattle

7. a letter written by a Christian minister or priest to his or her congregation

8. a literary work or painting that portrays rural life in an idealized way

NOTE : A pastoral is a poem in which any action or passion is represented by its effects on a country life.

A work of art that celebrates the cultivated enjoyment of the countryside. The poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” by Christopher Marlowe, is a pastoral. Its first stanza reads:

Come live with me, and be my love;

And we will all the pleasures prove

That hills and valleys, dales and fields,

Woods or steepy mountain yields.


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pstrlis, from pstor, shepherd


arcadian, bucolic, campestral, country, provincial, rural, rustic, countrified, countryside, idyllic, agrarian, bucolic, ecclesiastical, geoponic, georgic, innocent, picturesque, poem, simple, Theocritean


agitated, bustling, busy, urban

Contextual Examples:

• It is a pastoral romance, in the general style of Italian and Spanish romances of the earlier part of the century.

• As I once more shouldered my pack and went my way, the character of the country side began to change, and, from a semi-pastoral heathiness and furziness, took on a wildness of aspect, which if indeed melodramatic was melodrama carried to the point of genius.

• The pastoral setting was a perfect place to raise horses.

Related Words:

pastorally : Adverb

pastor : Noun

pasture : Noun

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