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pastel1

[pa-stel; especially British pas-tl] /pæˈstɛl; especially British ˈpæs tl/
noun
1.
a color having a soft, subdued shade.
2.
a kind of dried paste made of pigments ground with chalk and compounded with gum water.
3.
a chalklike crayon made from such paste.
4.
the art of drawing with such crayons.
5.
a drawing so made.
6.
a short, light prose study or sketch.
adjective
7.
having a soft, subdued shade.
8.
drawn with pastels:
a pastel portrait.
Origin
1655-1665
1655-65; < French < Italian pastello < Late Latin pastellus, variant of Latin pastillus (see pastille)

pastel2

[pas-tel] /ˈpæs tɛl/
noun
1.
the woad plant.
2.
the dye made from it.
Origin
1570-80; < Middle French < Provençal < Medieval Latin pastellum (neuter) woad (orig. woad paste), for Late Latin pastellus (masculine), diminutive of pasta paste; change of gender by influence of Latin glastum woad
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pastels

pastel

/ˈpæstəl; pæˈstɛl/
noun
1.
  1. a substance made of ground pigment bound with gum, used for making sticks for drawing
  2. a crayon of this
  3. a drawing done in such crayons
2.
the medium or technique of pastel drawing
3.
a pale delicate colour
4.
a light prose work, esp a poetic one
5.
another name for woad
adjective
6.
(of a colour) pale; delicate pastel blue
Derived Forms
pastelist, pastellist, noun
Word Origin
C17: via French from Italian pastello, from Late Latin pastellus woad compounded into a paste, diminutive of pastapaste1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pastels
pastel
1662, "crayons, chalk-like pigment used in crayons," from Fr. pastel "crayon," from It. pastello "a pastel," lit. "material reduced to a paste," from L.L. pastellus "dye from the leaves of the woad plant," dim. of pasta (see pasta). Meaning "pale or light color" first recorded 1899.
"The soft, wraith-like tints ... are now in fashion again. The modern name for them is 'pastels,' ... for these soft, half-faded tones bear the same relation to real colours as pastels do to oil-paintings." [(London) Daily News, Oct. 21, 1899]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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