[pas-ter-uhl, pah-ster-]
having the simplicity, charm, serenity, or other characteristics generally attributed to rural areas: pastoral scenery; the pastoral life.
pertaining to the country or to life in the country; rural; rustic.
portraying or suggesting idyllically the life of shepherds or of the country, as a work of literature, art, or music: pastoral poetry; a pastoral symphony.
of, pertaining to, or consisting of shepherds.
of or pertaining to a pastor or the duties of a pastor: pastoral visits to a hospital.
used for pasture, as land.
a poem, play, or the like, dealing with the life of shepherds, commonly in a conventional or artificial manner, or with simple rural life generally; a bucolic.
a picture or work of art representing the shepherds' life.
Music. pastorale.
a treatise on the duties of a pastor.
a letter to the people from their spiritual pastor.
a letter to the clergy or people of an ecclesiastical district from its bishop.
Also called pastoral staff. crosier ( def 1 ).

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin pāstōrālis, equivalent to pāstōr-, stem of pāstor (see pastor) + -ālis -al1

pastorally, adverb
nonpastoral, adjective, noun
nonpastorally, adverb
semipastoral, adjective
semipastorally, adverb
unpastoral, adjective
unpastorally, adverb

pastoral, pastorale.

1. rustic, rural, simple. 3. bucolic, idyllic. 7. eclogue, idyll; georgic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pastoral (ˈpɑːstərəl)
1.  of, characterized by, or depicting rural life, scenery, etc
2.  (of a literary work) dealing with an idealized form of rural existence in a conventional way
3.  (of land) used for pasture
4.  denoting or relating to the branch of theology dealing with the duties of a clergyman or priest to his congregation
5.  of or relating to a clergyman or priest in charge of a congregation or his duties as such
6.  of or relating to a teacher's responsibility for the personal, as the distinct from the educational, development of pupils
7.  of or relating to shepherds, their work, etc
8.  See also eclogue a literary work or picture portraying rural life, esp the lives of shepherds in an idealizing way
9.  music a variant of pastorale
10.  Christianity
 a.  a letter from a clergyman to the people under his charge
 b.  the letter of a bishop to the clergy or people of his diocese
 c.  Also called: pastoral staff the crosier or staff carried by a bishop as a symbol of his pastoral responsibilities
[C15: from Latin, from pastor]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"of or pertaining to shepherds," early 15c., from O.Fr. pastoral, from L. pastoralis, from pastor (see pastor (n.)). The noun sense of "poem dealing with country life generally" is from 1580s. Pastorale (in the It. form) "musical composition representing pastoral scenes" is attested from 1724.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

pastoral definition

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.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The pastoral evening images evoke a bygone era, and the descriptions of the
  scarecrow's excursion are both nostalgic and visceral.
He exercised his pastoral responsiblities as he understood them.
Augsburg's skilled pastoral ministry staff are available to Augsburg's students.
Abandoned by prospectors, the scarred landscape has returned to pastoral quiet.
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