im·​mac·​u·​late i-ˈma-kyə-lət How to pronounce immaculate (audio)
: spotlessly clean
an immaculate kitchen
immaculate uniforms
: having or containing no flaw or error
an immaculate record of service
in immaculate detail
: having no stain or blemish : pure
an immaculate heart
: having no colored spots or marks
used especially in botany and zoology
petals immaculate
immaculately adverb
immaculateness noun
… the immaculateness of scrubbed decks … William Sansom

Did you know?

You may already use the word immaculate flawlessly, but most of us have a spottier history with its antonymous counterpart, maculate, which means "marked with spots" or "impure." Both words can be traced back to macula, a Latin noun (plural maculae or maculas) that scientists still use for spots on the skin, on the wings of insects, and on the surface of celestial objects. Maculate has not marked as many pages as immaculate, but it appears occasionally, especially as an antithesis to immaculate. The pair is used, for example, by Clive James in a 2019 column in Prospect Magazine, in reference to Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey: “… the story sweeps along in immaculate iambic pentameter. In only one small aspect is the immaculateness maculate.”

Examples of immaculate in a Sentence

… they seemed as remote from metaphysics as their lunch bags and knapsacks. Yet weren't they all heading for those immaculate country snowfields to talk of God? Cynthia Ozick, Atlantic, May 1997
… and added to this was the fact that this Soviet Army Colonel had a service record that was as immaculate as a field of freshly fallen snow … Tom Clancy, The Cardinal of the Kremlin, (1988) 1989
I was expecting some giant to emerge, but in came a tiny, immaculate, white-haired man. Anna Russell, I'm Not Making This Up, You Know, 1985
She had an immaculate record of service. somehow managed to keep the white carpet immaculate
Recent Examples on the Web While there’s no official definition of immaculate disinflation, the phrase is being used to describe a scenario where inflation cools without causing a spike in unemployment. Elisabeth Buchwald, CNN, 6 Sep. 2023 Incredibly chic but notoriously tricky to apply and maintain, Phillips has two tips for an immaculate finish. Georgia Day, Vogue, 1 Sep. 2023 For the night, guests got to experience joy in the form of thought-provoking conversation, delicious pie, and immaculate vibes. Victoria Uwumarogie, Essence, 28 Aug. 2023 The immaculate mountaintop mansion presides over 37 acres at an elevation of 2,000 feet above Malibu. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 23 Aug. 2023 None of that is likely, which is why the most probable result of U.S. retrenchment would be not an immaculate transition to peaceful Chinese hegemony but violent chaos. Michael Beckley, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 Donkin’s debut album Welcome Home, which is out Friday (Aug. 24) on the young label drink sum wtr, is grounded in immaculate R&B from the late 1970s and early 1980s — delicate falsetto, giddily elaborate vocal harmonies, opulent keyboards, nimble bass lines. Elias Leight, Billboard, 21 Aug. 2023 The producers, Lucas Sim (black T-shirt, backpack) and Andrew Maury (long hair, backward ball cap), broke the ice by mocking the immaculate touch-screen recording consoles in front of them. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 14 Aug. 2023 But the music was immaculate: Salt-N-Pepa, Digital Underground, A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Quik, De La Soul. Danyel Smith, New York Times, 8 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'immaculate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English immaculat, from Latin immaculatus, from in- + maculatus stained — more at maculate

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of immaculate was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near immaculate

Cite this Entry

“Immaculate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


im·​mac·​u·​late im-ˈak-yə-lət How to pronounce immaculate (audio)
: having no stain or blemish : pure
an immaculate record of service
: perfectly clean
immaculate linen
immaculately adverb
immaculateness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on immaculate

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