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pas·tel (pă-stĕl)
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n.
1.
a. A drawing medium of dried paste made of ground pigments and a water-based binder that is manufactured in crayon form.
b. A crayon of this material.
2.
a. A picture or sketch drawn with this type of crayon.
b. The art or process of drawing with pastels.
3. A soft delicate hue; a pale color: a room done all in pastels.
4. A sketchy or brief prose work.
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or made of pastel.
2. Pale and soft in color.

[French, from Italian pastello, material made into a paste, from Late Latin pastellus, woad dye, diminutive of pasta, paste; see PASTE1.]
(click for a larger image)
pastel
Mother and Child
by Mary Cassatt

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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