Use the adjective pastoral to describe the countryside, particularly an idealized view of the country. If you draw cheery pictures with lush fields, calm skies, cheerful bunnies, and colorful wildflowers, you draw pastoral scenes.

Pastoral can also describe something done by, you guessed it, a pastor. If a pastor writes a letter to his congregation, it is a pastoral letter. How are the two meanings of pastoral related? Shepherds, of course. Pastors are often referred to as shepherds of their flock (i.e., the members of their church congregation). Actual shepherds, the kind who tend sheep, work in pastoral settings.

Definitions of pastoral
  1. adjective
    relating to shepherds or herdsmen or devoted to raising sheep or cattle
    pastoral seminomadic people”
    pastoral land”
    “a pastoral economy”
    synonyms: bucolic
  2. adjective
    (used with regard to idealized country life) idyllically rustic
    “charming in its pastoral setting”
    synonyms: arcadian, bucolic
    living in or characteristic of farming or country life
  3. noun
    a literary work idealizing the rural life (especially the life of shepherds)
    see moresee less
    bucolic, eclogue, idyl, idyll
    a short poem descriptive of rural or pastoral life
    type of:
    literary composition, literary work
    imaginative or creative writing
  4. noun
    a musical composition that evokes rural life
    synonyms: idyl, idyll, pastorale
    see moresee less
    type of:
    composition, musical composition, opus, piece, piece of music
    a musical work that has been created
  5. adjective
    of or relating to a pastor
    pastoral work”
    “a pastoral letter”
  6. noun
    a letter from a pastor to the congregation
    see moresee less
    type of:
    letter, missive
    a written message addressed to a person or organization
Word Family

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