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



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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 Golden color with notes of hazelnut, pristine white peach and apricot flavors with a stony minerality that had bright acidity that was balanced by a moderately creamy texture that finished with orange blossoms. Cathrine Todd, Forbes, 9 Oct. 2021 The book, which takes its name from a traditional Black parent’s admonishment to not sully pristine spaces with dirt, is a sharp, sweet-salty pleasure. Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2021 The first Liddle movie was inspired by Rowland's own Christmas catastrophe, and followed Jacquie, a successful tech entrepreneur, as her family descended on her pristine home and sparks flew with her handsome new neighbor, Tyler. Breanne L. Heldman,, 13 Sep. 2021 It’s not just the blush or tech crew that makes casting teams look pristine. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 22 Aug. 2021 Northern Alaska has remained fairly pristine, Bataille adds, because there hasn’t been much glaciation or human activity to move the soil and rocks around. Sara Harrison, Wired, 12 Aug. 2021 Almost all of that water has remained pristine, and persists as the largest unfiltered supply in the United States. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, 8 Aug. 2021 Costanzo, on the other hand, is high and pristine where Bond is low and dirty, precise where Bond slides like a high heel on a barroom floor. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 24 Sep. 2021 Palm Beach Palm Beach's exclusive and glamorous lifestyle appeals to buyers looking to enjoy its world-class shopping and pristine beaches in a serene and sophisticated environment. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 20 Sep. 2021

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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The first known use of pristine was in 1534

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pristine condition

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pristine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on pristine

Nglish: Translation of pristine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pristine for Arabic Speakers


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