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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pristine

pristinely adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for pristine


brand-new, fresh, mint, span-new, virgin, virginal



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Massachusetts vacation destination, known for pristine beaches and football-tossing Kennedys, has become a global hot spot for great white sharks. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Shark Attacks Have Cape Cod On Edge," 2 May 2019 Macklowe’s latest addition to its New York City portfolio, 200 East 59th Street, on Third Avenue, is pristine, modern, and more modestly priced than its sister tower a few avenues over. Samantha Swenson, ELLE Decor, "Interior Designer Cyril Vergniol Says Goodbye to Cookie-Cutter Apartments," 8 Mar. 2019 Recent missile firings might leave minor scorch marks or fouling on the Lubeck’s paint job, but the ship looks pristine. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why Does This German Frigate Have Drone “Kill Marks”?," 27 Aug. 2018 His bespoke suit — navy blue with a powder blue tie — still looked pristine. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "Luka Doncic Feels the Burn of the Spotlight — and the Thrill," 23 June 2018 Since 1950, Jamaica Inn in beautiful Ocho Rios has welcomed guests like family to an intimate tropical setting on its own pristine private beach. Condé Naste Traveler: Post, "Free Nights This Summer!," 26 Oct. 2018 Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Travis Fedschun, Mike Arroyo, Fox News, "More than 90 killed after 6.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Indonesia's Lombok Island, near Bali," 2 Oct. 2018 For much of the stage, the route hugged the coastline alongside sparkling waters, pristine beaches and an abundance of salt marshes. Andrew Dampf,, "4-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome flies off the road into a ditch in opening stage," 7 July 2018 For much of the stage, the route hugged the coastline alongside sparkling waters, pristine beaches and an abundance of salt marshes. New York Times, "Chris Froome Begins Tour de France in a Ditch," 7 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of pristine

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pristine

Latin pristinus; akin to Latin prior

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pristine

Listen to Our Podcast about pristine

Statistics for pristine

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pristine

The first known use of pristine was in 1534

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!