Monday, July 09, 2007

WORD A DAY

PRISTINE: 1: belonging to the earliest period or state: original 2a: pure, unspoiled b: fresh and clean as or as if new

When "pristine" was anglicized in the 16th century, its meanings were taken from the Latin pristinus, "early" or "original," and and applied 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 suposition 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 someting that has just been made, which explains how "pristine" has also come to mean "fresh and clean."

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