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

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

And my wife Kayte Walsh] has a pristine and extraordinary ability to love. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Kelsey Grammer talks finding joy as a father after personal tragedies," 26 June 2018 Angora Lakes Resort: Upper Angora Lake is a small, pristine lake nestled at 7,470 feet, backed by a high granite wall. Tom Stienstra,, "Tom Stienstra: California’s 25 best cabins on golden ponds," 20 June 2018 At sunset, a mix of alto cirrus with mare�s tails and cumulus provide a backdrop to pristine Forester Lake at 10, 240 feet, nestled in the Great Western Divide. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Nature’s fortune-tellers predicted wild weather for Memorial Day weekend," 28 May 2018 Hitting that beat even harder on May 2 was a video tour (663K views) of a still-pristine Millennium Falcon by Glover. Chris Thilk, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Disney's 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Marketing Battled Franchise Saturation," 23 May 2018 Most notably, the newest cast member, the once-pristine Tristan Thompson, partner of Khloé, has been making up for lost time by cheating on his pregnant girlfriend. Morgan Baila,, "Meet The Real Househusbands of Calabasas," 2 May 2018 The sand is pristine and the cliffs are tall here, so soak up a little seclusion just 13 miles south of downtown Half Moon Bay., "5 hidden beaches around Half Moon Bay," 12 July 2018 British Columbia’s Chilcotin region is a pristine area of 32 million acres with a population of just 950. Phil Marty,, "A luxe escape for nature lovers, help for travelers with physical disabilities and more," 14 June 2018 Deer management programs and removal of garlic mustard and other invasive plants have helped maintain and improve the ecosystems of some of the county’s most pristine areas, Smith said. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Battling garlic mustard: Noxious weeds get pulled from Lake County forests by teams of volunteers," 8 June 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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Phrases Related to pristine

pristine condition

Statistics for pristine

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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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

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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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