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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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 The outdoor dining setting, which John’s Grill calls Oasis, had umbrellas and heat lamps that were completely unnecessary on a strikingly pristine afternoon. Rusty Simmons,, "Smuin Ballet cares to dance — in middle of S.F. street at legendary John’s Grill," 11 Oct. 2020 Harvey’s torrential downpours brought flooding to the once pristine museum effecting some $2 million in damage to the jewel of the community. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "'Pearl' of the community supports county, task force for flood mitigation," 10 Oct. 2020 In pristine bogs, that carbon remains soggy and intact. New York Times, "What’s Green, Soggy and Fights Climate Change?," 9 Oct. 2020 The brand’s steel over-door hook is no exception—in a pristine white, with five hooks for hanging anything from towels to coats. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Over-door hooks for freeing up precious closet space," 8 Oct. 2020 Bass, executive director of the Boardroom surfboard show in Del Mar and a long-time industry executive, recalled that the first issue of Surfer contained a photo of someone paddling out toward a glassy pristine wave. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Surfer magazine, an iconic touchstone of SoCal beach culture, suspends publication," 5 Oct. 2020 Streets are pristine even after mass demonstrations. Washington Post, "Belarusian-style revolution means cleaning up after protests and stopping for red lights," 22 Sep. 2020 Their projects may be pristine, but their lives are not., "How the Two Nashville Moms Behind The Home Edit Became Organization Gurus to the Stars," 21 Sep. 2020 In the fourteen billion years between the big bang and the autumn of 1957, space was pristine. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, "Read More," 21 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for pristine

Time Traveler

The first known use of pristine was in 1534

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pristine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for pristine


How to pronounce pristine (audio)

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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