Word: bucolic

Pronunciation: byoo-KAH-lik

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


If you find much of your creative inspiration in nature, then today’s Word of the Week is for you. I’ve most often come across this word while reading poetic descriptions of the countryside or stories that take place in rustic settings, and I admit that while I didn’t really care for it at first, it’s been growing on me the more I’ve read and heard it. You could say it’s one of those adjectives that says it all; whenever a writer mentions the “bucolic” scenery in their work, you know to envision lovely images of country life!

Anything described as “bucolic” refers to the pleasant aspects of country life and the countryside. The word arose in the early 16th century and traces back through the Latin adjective bucolicus to the Greek adjective boukolikós, both of which mean “pastoral”. The latter adjective stems from the noun boukólos “herdsman”, which in turn derives from the noun bous, meaning “ox” or “cow”.

Interestingly, the original use of “bucolic” was as a poetic term to refer to a pastoral poem, and can still be used as a noun today in the same sense. “Bucolic” as a type of poetry is also another word for “eclogue”; the Eclogues of the Latin poet Virgil, for example, are also known as the Bucolics. Note that the adjective’s definition specifically mentions pleasant aspects of the countryside, so I would recommend using this word exclusively with a positive connotation. For those of you who write stories or scenes set in more rural areas, “bucolic” is a perfect word to describe the beauty found in the country!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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