pris·​tine | \ˈpri-ˌstēn, 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

In Lake Tahoe, slope construction causes erosion and runoff that can degrade the lake’s pristine waters. Kris Frieswick, WSJ, "Luxury Living Off the Edge of a Mountain," 21 Nov. 2018 Its remoteness is exactly why Alpe di Siusi is so pristine and magnificent. Kelly Hushin, Town & Country, "How to Explore the Hidden Gems of Italy's Dolomite Region," 28 Sep. 2018 According to Bezos’s plan, all heavy industry will one day move into space, leaving Earth with a pristine environment. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "The Billionaire Philanthropist," 13 Mar. 2018 San Francisco pipes its pristine water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite and the Tuolumne, which also provides water to farmers in Modesto in the Central Valley. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "San Francisco vs. the Fish," 23 Aug. 2018 Trump's declaration reached even this remote coast of South America, where the Amazon River muddies pristine Atlantic waters and jungle dominates the landscape. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "European rocket chief: Trump rhetoric strengthens our commitment to space," 2 July 2018 Sockeye salmon from the pristine waters of the bay, and the potential money to be made, brings together the most diverse cross-section of humanity imaginable. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Bristol Bay is a happy place right now, but time — and the marketplace – will tell if those smiles last," 17 June 2018 Pensacola is known for its soft white sand beaches and pristine turquoise waters. Amy Aumick,, "Explore Florida's Escambia County: Escape Pensacola's bustle on Perdido Key," 7 May 2018 Leo Carrillo State Park Leo Carrillo State Park is an ecologically diverse spot with rocky crags jutting into the ocean, Malibu mountains to hike, and pristine water with rich tidepools. Maxwell Williams, Condé Nast Traveler, "13 Best Beaches in Los Angeles," 28 Feb. 2018

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

13 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for pristine

The first known use of pristine was in 1534

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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

Comments on pristine

What made you want to look up pristine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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