pris·​tine | \ ˈpri-ˌstēn How to pronounce pristine (audio) , pri-ˈstēn, especially British ˈpri-ˌstīn\

Definition of pristine

1 : belonging to the earliest period or state : original the hypothetical pristine lunar atmosphere
2a : not spoiled, corrupted, or polluted (as by civilization) : pure a pristine forest
b : fresh and clean as or as if new used books in pristine condition

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Other Words from pristine

pristinely adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for pristine


brand-new, fresh, mint, span-new, virgin, virginal



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Did You Know?

When pristine was anglicized in the 16th century, people borrowed the meanings of "early" and "original" from the Latin word pristinus and applied those meanings to what is desirable as well as to what is not. But it has long been a tendency of civilized people to admire a simpler and unsullied past. The supposition is that when things were in their oldest or original state, they were better. Thus, pristine was extended to describe the notion of an unspoiled, uncorrupted, or unpolluted state. And what is unspoiled or uncontaminated may connote the freshness and cleanness of something that has just been made, which explains how pristine has also come to mean "fresh and clean."

Examples of pristine in a Sentence

My office is a mess but her office is always pristine. He was wearing a pristine white shirt.

Recent Examples on the Web

So brutally simple and so … pristine … so shocking. Steven Levy, WIRED, "A Reminiscence of Jony Ive’s Design Legacy," 27 June 2019 Her bunker shot was pristine, as was the title-clinching putt. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Not even Hannah Green thought she could win at Hazeltine, but she did," 23 June 2019 The water is pristine, clear, cold and emerald green. Tom Stienstra,, "5 spots to river snorkel in California," 20 June 2019 Pesticides remain widely used to keep parks, playgrounds, playing fields — and golf courses — pristine, polished and preened., "Son nagged by golfing dad’s death from a rare cancer; were pesticides at fault?," 15 June 2019 Earth wasn’t a completely pristine, luscious utopia before humans came along and life has always been a little dirty. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "Here Are 12 Things You Might Miss in the Smithsonian’s New Fossil Hall," 7 June 2019 That's because Walden Pond, the once-pristine jewel that inspired the American naturalist and philosopher in the mid 1800s, has been befouled by generations of swimmers urinating in the water, according to a new study. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, "Famed Walden Pond, which inspired Henry David Thoreau, is being killed by pee," 6 Apr. 2018 The Canterbury Shaker Village, arguably one of the most historically pristine sites in New England, sits on a hilltop overlooking some 700 acres of pastoral land, forests, nature trails, and ponds. Pamela Wright,, "A lot of Shaker going on: Canterbury Shaker Village living history museum celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019," 25 June 2019 The cable magnate, John Malone, for instance, has been praised by the Nature Conservancy for his family’s conservation efforts, and other buyers have helped to clean up trails and restore pristine acres. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "Who Gets to Own the West?," 22 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pristine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pristine

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pristine

Latin pristinus; akin to Latin prior

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for pristine

The first known use of pristine was in 1534

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More Definitions for pristine



English Language Learners Definition of pristine

: in perfect condition : completely clean, fresh, neat, etc.
: not changed by people : left in its natural state

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More from Merriam-Webster on pristine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pristine

Spanish Central: Translation of pristine

Nglish: Translation of pristine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pristine for Arabic Speakers

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