\ˈpyu̇r \
purer; purest

Definition of pure 

1a(1) : unmixed with any other matter pure gold

(2) : free from dust, dirt, or taint pure spring water

(3) : spotless, stainless

b : free from harshness or roughness and being in tune used of a musical tone

c of a vowel : characterized by no appreciable alteration of articulation during utterance

2a : being thus and no other : sheer, unmitigated pure folly

b(1) : abstract, theoretical pure research

(2) : a priori pure mechanics

c : not directed toward exposition of reality or solution of practical problems pure literature

d : being nonobjective and to be appraised on formal and technical qualities only pure form

3a(1) : free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes

(2) : containing nothing that does not properly belong

b : free from moral fault or guilt

c : marked by chastity : continent

d(1) : of pure blood and unmixed ancestry

(2) : homozygous in and breeding true for one or more characters

e : ritually clean

4 : having exactly the talents or skills needed for a particular role a pure shooter in basketball

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pure

pureness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for pure

chaste, pure, modest, decent mean free from all taint of what is lewd or salacious. chaste primarily implies a refraining from acts or even thoughts or desires that are not virginal or not sanctioned by marriage vows. they maintained chaste relations pure differs from chaste in implying innocence and absence of temptation rather than control of one's impulses and actions. the pure of heart modest and decent apply especially to deportment and dress as outward signs of inward chastity or purity. preferred more modest swimsuits decent people didn't go to such movies

Examples of pure in a Sentence

The company bottles only the purest water. the pure notes of the flute

Recent Examples on the Web

Kate and Rebecca actually have normal conversation—no passive aggression here—and there's something very pure and easy about the way these two women speak on the phone. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Episode Recaps," 31 Oct. 2018 Model Paloma Elsesser looking like pure money, quite literally, in a pair of dollar bill covered Supreme pants with green Chanel ballet flats. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "The 13 Best Fashion Instagrams of the Week: Tracee Ellis Ross, Kali Uchis, and More," 13 Oct. 2018 From a pure on-court standpoint, the Cavaliers might have the least allure of any realistic LeBron destination. Ben Ladner, SI.com, "Cleveland Cavaliers Offseason Preview: Will LeBron James Stay or Go?," 10 June 2018 Using pure oxygen rather than air virtually eliminates NOx, one of natural gas's worst air pollutants. David Roberts, Vox, "That natural gas power plant with no carbon emissions or air pollution? It works.," 1 June 2018 One criticism is that producing pure oxygen for the combustion process is not terribly efficient. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "In Texas, a new power plant could redefine carbon capture," 31 May 2018 Before exiting the Challenger, Mr. Peterson had to breathe pure oxygen for three-and-a-half hours, to gradually reduce excess nitrogen from his body. Ellie Silverman, Washington Post, "Donald Peterson Sr., who spacewalked from the shuttle Challenger, dies at 84," 29 May 2018 Instead of producing carbon dioxide, the new process produced only pure oxygen. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Apple tries to reduce emissions from making iPhones with green aluminum venture," 10 May 2018 Rae sings with a high pure and delicate voice occasionally rippled with a slight vibrato. John Adamian, courant.com, "Tedeschi Trucks And Jay Critch Are Just Two Of This Week's Must-See Shows," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pure.' 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 pure

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for pure

Middle English pur, from Anglo-French, from Latin purus; akin to Old High German fowen to sift, Sanskrit punāti he cleanses, Middle Irish úr fresh, new

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pure

Statistics for pure

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pure

The first known use of pure was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pure



English Language Learners Definition of pure

: not mixed with anything else

: clean and not harmful in any way

: having a smooth and clear sound that is not mixed with any other sounds


\ˈpyu̇r \
purer; purest

Kids Definition of pure

1 : not mixed with anything else : free from everything that might injure or lower the quality pure water pure silk

2 : free from sin : innocent, chaste

3 : nothing other than : total pure nonsense

Other Words from pure

purely adverb


\ˈpyu̇(ə)r \
purer; purest

Medical Definition of pure 

1 : unmixed with any other matter pure gold

2 : free from dust, dirt, or taint pure food

3a : of unmixed ancestry : purebred

b : homozygous in and breeding true for one or more characters

Other Words from pure

pureness noun

Keep scrolling for more



Legal Definition of pure 

1a : unmixed with any other matter

b : free from dirt or taint

2 : being thus and nothing other a pure no-fault compensation system

Other Words from pure

purely adverb
pureness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pure

What made you want to look up pure? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!