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 Empty shotshell on the side of an otherwise pristine mountain is among the most offensive examples. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "A sharpshooting woman named Plinky, accidental litterbugs and a British lord with bloodlust," 27 June 2020 With turquoise water on one side and vibrant green palm trees on the other, the pristine shores look like they’re made of powdered diamonds and pearls. Washington Post, "That sand between your toes may start as rock. But it may also be fish poop.," 24 June 2020 The high-carbon-steel serrated blade resists stains and corrosion while maintaining its pristine edge. NBC News, "Best kitchen knives and how to buy them, according to experts," 24 June 2020 Nothing could account for so much plastic at the sites, considered among America’s greatest natural treasures and largely pristine. Kurtis Alexander,, "Plastic particles are raining from the sky — just another front for a pervasive pollutant," 23 June 2020 The good stuff' turned out to include six Babe Ruth baseball cards from the 1930s, in pristine condition and autographed by the Great Bambino himself. CBS News, "Family discovers trove of valuable baseball memorabilia in uncle's attic," 20 June 2020 In the country’s vast new suburbs, a pristine lawn, visible through a picket fence, was a statement of middle-class belonging. The Economist, "Growing your own food America rediscovers the joys of vegetable-growing," 20 June 2020 Bose has a reputation for delivering state-of-the-art, enveloping, pristine sound. Popular Science, "The best wireless headphones for music and podcasts," 19 June 2020 Dallas was pristine in search and destroy on Gun Runner all season, winning the majority of their efforts and even using it as a tool in the back pocket. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "How Dallas Empire’s 3-2 win over London shows what sets them apart in Call of Duty League play," 19 June 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

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The first known use of pristine was in 1534

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Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pristine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 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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