pris·​tine ˈpri-ˌstēn How to pronounce pristine (audio)
 especially British  ˈpri-ˌstīn
: belonging to the earliest period or state : original
the hypothetical pristine lunar atmosphere
: not spoiled, corrupted, or polluted (as by civilization) : pure
a pristine forest
: fresh and clean as or as if new
used books in pristine condition
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 Advertisement There are places to build solar projects besides pristine ecosystems. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2024 Each flute is fire-polished, yielding pristine shine, and features a domed accent at its base for a touch of dimension. Maria Conti, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 May 2024 The sandbar was named after Richard Nixon, who had a home overlooking the pristine shallow area. Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald, 13 May 2024 Normally, the rivers that run through Alaska are a pristine blue. Bychris Morris, Fortune, 29 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for pristine 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pristine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin pristinus; akin to Latin prior

First Known Use

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pristine was in 1534


Dictionary Entries Near pristine

Cite this Entry

“Pristine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


pris·​tine ˈpris-ˌtēn How to pronounce pristine (audio)
: not spoiled, polluted, or corrupted (as by civilization)
a pristine forest
: being fresh and clean
pristine new math books

More from Merriam-Webster on pristine

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