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 That day long ago sparked the border security awakening that Kimbro has observed gradually and dramatically changing this pristine landscape with each passing presidential administration. Ed Lavandera And Ashley Killough, CNN, "Border wall construction presses full steam ahead in final days of Trump administration," 23 Dec. 2020 The letter to Minnis cites the Deepwater Horizon disaster as a cautionary tale for drilling in the pristine tropical Atlantic waters. Chris Perkins,, "A company has started drilling for oil just 150 miles off Florida’s coast, prompting a dire warning from members of Congress," 22 Dec. 2020 Anna Mae Weems becomes one of the first Black women to integrate Rath’s sliced bacon department, a bastion of white women working in a pristine environment. Bernice Yeung, ProPublica, "How the History of Waterloo, Iowa, Explains How Meatpacking Plants Became Hotbeds of COVID-19," 21 Dec. 2020 Conservationists have won the more than decade-long fight to stop the federal government’s sale of Plum Island, the Long Island Sound home of a government research facility that also has become a pristine wildlife haven. Zach Murdock,, "Congress repeals controversial plan to sell Plum Island, wildlife oasis in Long Island Sound," 21 Dec. 2020 Make your way to Galveston Island’s Moody Gardens Hotel to enjoy not only the pristine beach views but also Moody Gardens’ Festival of Lights. Colin Daniels, Chron, "Enjoy the holiday season at Moody Gardens Hotel," 21 Dec. 2020 Sandals South Coast, a beautiful resort set on a 2-mile stretch of Jamaica’s south coast’s most pristine white-sand beach and nestled within a 500-acre nature preserve. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "What It's Really Like To Travel To Jamaica Right Now," 17 Dec. 2020 Sestito speculated that perhaps pockets of pristine gas managed to dodge all the metals expelled from supernovas for eons, then collapsed to form stars that looked deceptively old. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, "The New History of the Milky Way," 15 Dec. 2020 The logic of these rules is obvious: Apple TV+ is a minor sideline in a sprawling, deliberate, top-down company that uses a pristine brand to sell some 200 million iPhones a year. New York Times, "Apple TV Was Making a Show About Gawker. Then Tim Cook Found Out.," 13 Dec. 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

28 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pristine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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