AskDefine | Define bucolic

Dictionary Definition

bucolic adj
1 used of idealized country life; "a country life of arcadian contentment"; "a pleasant bucolic scene"; "charming in its pastoral setting"; "rustic tranquility" [syn: arcadian, pastoral, rustic]
2 relating to shepherds or herdsmen or devoted to raising sheep or cattle; "pastoral seminomadic people"; "pastoral land"; "a pastoral economy" [syn: pastoral]


1 a country person [syn: peasant, provincial]
2 a short descriptive poem of rural or pastoral life [syn: eclogue, idyll]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /bjuːˈkɒlɪk/, /bju"kQlIk/,
  • a US /bjuˈkɑːlɪk/, /bju"kAlIk/,
  • Rhymes with: -ɒlɪk

Etymology 1

From etyl la bucolicus, from etyl grc βουκολικός, from βουκόλος, from βοῦς + -κολος + -ικός.


  1. Rustic, pastoral, country-styled.
  2. Pertaining to herdsmen or peasants.
rustic, pastoral, country-styled
pertaining to herdsmen or peasants
Translations to be checked

Etymology 2

From bucolicum, neuter substantive of bucolicus
a pastoral poem
  • Latin: bucolicum
a rustic, peasant
  • Latin: bucolicum
See also

Extensive Definition

Pastoral, as an adjective, refers to the lifestyle of shepherds and pastoralists, moving livestock around larger areas of land according to seasons and availability of water and feed. "Pastoral" also describes literature, art and music which depicts the life of shepherds, often in a highly idealised manner. It may also be used as a noun (a pastoral) to describe a single work of pastoral poetry, music or drama. An alternative name for the literary "pastoral" (both as an adjective and a noun) is bucolic, from the Greek βουκóλος, meaning a "cowherd". This reflects the Greek origin of the pastoral tradition.

Pastoral literature

Pastoral literature in general

In literature, the adjective 'pastoral' refers to rural subjects and aspects of life in the countryside among shepherds, cowherds and other farm workers that are often romanticized and depicted in a highly unrealistic manner. Indeed, the pastoral life is sometimes depicted as being far closer to the Golden age than the rest of human life. A typical mood is set by Christopher Marlowe's well known lines from "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love":
Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
Pastoral shepherds and maidens usually have Greek names like Corydon or Philomela, reflecting the origin of the pastoral genre. Pastoral poems are set in beautiful rural landscapes, the literary term for which is "locus amoenus" (Latin for "beautiful place"), such as Arcadia, a rural region of Greece, mythological home of the god Pan, which was portrayed as a sort of Eden by the poets. The tasks of their employment with sheep and other rustic chores is held in the fantasy to be almost wholly undemanding and is left in the background, abandoning the shepherdesses and their swains in a state of almost perfect leisure. This makes them available for embodying perpetual erotic fantasies. The shepherds spend their time chasing pretty girls — or, at least in the Greek and Roman versions, pretty lads as well. The eroticism of Virgil's second eclogue, Formosum pastor Corydon ardebat Alexin ("The shepherd Corydon burned with passion for pretty Alexis") is entirely homosexual.

Pastoral poetry


bucolic in Persian: پاستورال
bucolic in Czech: Pastorála
bucolic in German: Schäferdichtung
bucolic in French: Poésie pastorale
bucolic in Italian: Pastorale (arte)
bucolic in Japanese: パストラル
bucolic in Macedonian: Пасторална поезија
bucolic in Norwegian: Hyrdediktning
bucolic in Polish: Sielanka
bucolic in Russian: Пастораль
bucolic in Finnish: Paimenrunous
bucolic in Ukrainian: Пастораль

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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