from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having a homogeneous or uniform composition; not mixed.
  • adjective Free of dirt, pollutants, infectious agents, or other unwanted elements.
  • adjective Containing nothing inappropriate or extraneous.
  • adjective Complete; utter.
  • adjective Having no moral failing or guilt.
  • adjective Chaste; virgin.
  • adjective Of unmixed blood or ancestry.
  • adjective Genetics Produced by self-fertilization or continual inbreeding; homozygous.
  • adjective Music Free from discordant qualities.
  • adjective Linguistics Articulated with a single unchanging speech sound; monophthongal.
  • adjective Theoretical; not applied.
  • adjective Philosophy Free of empirical elements.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Free from extraneous matter; separate from matter of another kind; free from mixture; unmixed; clear; especially, free from matter that impairs or pollutes: Said of physical substances.
  • Bare; mere; sheer; absolute; very: as, it was done out of pure spite; a pure villain.
  • Sole; only.
  • Whole; thorough; complete.
  • Fine; nice.
  • Figuratively, free from mixture with things of another kind; homogeneous.
  • Free from mixture with that which contaminates, stains, defiles, or blemishes.
  • Ritually or ceremonially clean; unpolluted.
  • Free from that which vitiates, pollutes, or degrades; unadulterated; genuine; stainless; sincere: said of thoughts, actions, motives, etc.
  • In music: Of intervals, intonation, and harmony, mathematically correct or perfect: opposed to tempered.
  • Of tones, without discordant quality.
  • Of style of composition or of a particular work, correct; regular; finished.
  • In metaphysics, of the nature of form; unmateriate; in the Kantian terminology, not depending on experience; non-sensuous.
  • Logic based solely on a priori principles; a canon of the understanding and of the reason in reference to the formal element.
  • Synonyms Uncorrupted, incorrupt, unsullied, untainted, untarnished, unstained, clean, fair, unspotted, unpolluted, undefiled, immaculate, guiltless, holy.
  • noun Purity.
  • noun In tanning, a bate of dog's dung, used for counteracting the action of the lime on the skins in the process of unhairing.
  • In biology, having germ-cells of only one kind and like those of a parent. See the extract.
  • Quite; very; absolutely; perfectly.
  • To purify; cleanse; refine.
  • Specifically In tanning, to cleanse with a bate of dog's dung.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Separate from all heterogeneous or extraneous matter; free from mixture or combination; clean; mere; simple; unmixed
  • adjective Free from moral defilement or quilt; hence, innocent; guileless; chaste; -- applied to persons.
  • adjective Free from that which harms, vitiates, weakens, or pollutes; genuine; real; perfect; -- applied to things and actions.
  • adjective (Script.) Ritually clean; fitted for holy services.
  • adjective (Phonetics) Of a single, simple sound or tone; -- said of some vowels and the unaspirated consonants.
  • adjective completely or totally impure.
  • adjective (Chem.) See Methylene blue, under Methylene.
  • adjective See under Chemistry.
  • adjective that portion of mathematics which treats of the principles of the science, or contradistinction to applied mathematics, which treats of the application of the principles to the investigation of other branches of knowledge, or to the practical wants of life.
  • adjective (Feudal Law) a tenure of lands by uncertain services at the will of the lord.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective free of flaws or imperfections; unsullied
  • adjective free of foreign material or pollutants
  • adjective free of immoral behavior or qualities; clean
  • adjective of a branch of science, done for its own sake instead of serving another branch of science.
  • adjective phonetics Of a single, simple sound or tone; said of some vowels and the unaspirated consonants.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English pur, from Old French, from Latin pūrus; see peuə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English pur, from Old French pur, from Latin purus ("clean, free from dirt or filth, unmixed, plain"), from Proto-Indo-European *peu-, *pu- (“to cleanse, purify”). Displaced native Middle English lutter ("pure, clear, sincere") (from Old English hlūtor, hluttor), Middle English skere ("pure, sheer, clear") (from Old English scǣre and Old Norse skǣr), Middle English schir ("clear, pure") (from Old English scīr), Middle English smete, smeate ("pure, refined") (from Old English smǣte; compare Old English mǣre ("pure")).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word pure.


  • The most effective way to purify the thoughts is to divert them to a pure and strictly non-sexual subject -- e.g., _pure mathematics_.

    The Biology, Physiology and Sociology of Reproduction Also Sexual Hygiene with Special Reference to the Male Winfield Scott Hall

  • When trustees and patrons realize that pure air is absolutely essential to health, and that their children are being slowly poisoned by the foul air of school rooms, then they will construct our halls of learning with a due regard for the laws of hygiene, and students will not droop under their tasks on account of the absence of Nature's most bountiful gift, _pure air_.

    The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English or, Medicine Simplified, 54th ed., One Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Ray Vaughn Pierce 1877

  • [Inamori Mika @ Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight] 1位 766票 ホロ@狼と香辛料 [Horo @ Spice and Wolf] 2位 217票 咲野明日夏@キミキス pure rouge [Sakino Asuka @ Kimikiss ~pure rouge] 3位 136票 乱崎月香@狂乱家族日記 [Midarezaki Gekka @ Kyouran Kazoku Nikki]

    Kurogane's Anime Blog 2008

  • In fact, I use the term "pure shooter" very carefully. 2011

  • All the big brewers were blasting the word pure in their advertising, spending fortunes on two-page spreads so they could write the word in larger type than their competition.

    The Answer John Assaraf 2008

  • All the big brewers were blasting the word pure in their advertising, spending fortunes on two-page spreads so they could write the word in larger type than their competition.

    The Answer John Assaraf 2008

  • The phrase "pure shooter" has always struck me as slightly damning, suggesting a player who can whip anyone's butt in H-O-R-S-E might not be a complete player, and, further, might not be the guy you want to have the ball in crunch time. 2011

  • Mr. Cameron, returning to London on Tuesday after breaking off his summer vacation in Italy, condemned what he called "pure criminality."

    London Sweeps Up as Riots Simmer to North Guy Chazan 2011

  • She had the second night of what she described as pure ectasy.

    Dr. Peter Rost: My Cheating Friend - 3 2008

  • His peers love working with him because he's what they call a pure musician — someone who plays for the joy of it, not the money.

    Guillermo Klein And His Band Of Devotees 2008


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • See also pure-finder for a definition that WordNet does not include here.

    October 4, 2008

  • "'Be glad I'm not tanning hides,' she advised him. 'Ian says the Indian women use dog turds for that.'

    'So do European tanners; they just call the stuff "pure."'

    'Pure what?'

    'Pure dog turds, I suppose,' he said with a shrug. 'How's it going?'"

    —Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (New York: Bantam Dell, 2005), 698

    February 3, 2010

  • Pure dog turds.

    Arrggh. Earworm.

    February 3, 2010

  • That pound of pure strikes a note. In the 19th century London, book binders used dog turds to dress leather and referred to this dressing as pure. They bought it from poor folk who went around London collecting the turds by the bucket and sold the turds to the binders by the pound.

    Fully discussed in Mayhew's London Labour & London Poor.

    November 5, 2012