Definitions

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

  • n. The act of pretending; a false appearance or action intended to deceive.
  • n. A false or studied show; an affectation: a pretense of nonchalance.
  • n. A professed but feigned reason or excuse; a pretext: under false pretenses.
  • n. Something imagined or pretended.
  • n. Mere show without reality; outward appearance.
  • n. A right asserted with or without foundation; a claim. See Synonyms at claim.
  • n. The quality or state of being pretentious; ostentation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A false or hypocritical profession, as, under pretense of friendliness.
  • n. Intention or purpose not real but professed.
  • n. An unsupported claim made or implied.
  • n. An insincere attempt to reach a specific condition or quality.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of laying claim; the claim laid; assumption; pretension.
  • n. The act of holding out, or offering, to others something false or feigned; presentation of what is deceptive or hypocritical; deception by showing what is unreal and concealing what is real; false show; simulation
  • n. That which is pretended; false, deceptive, or hypocritical show, argument, or reason; pretext; feint.
  • n. Intention; design.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An intention; a design; a purpose.
  • n. The act of pretending, or putting forward something to conceal the true state of affairs, and thus to deceive; hence, the representation of that which does not exist; simulation; feigning; a false or hypocritical show; a sham.
  • n. That under cover of which an actual design or meaning is concealed; a pretext.
  • n. Pretension; aspiration; the putting forth of a claim, particularly to merit, dignity, or personal worth; pretentiousness.
  • n. A claim; a right asserted, with or without foundation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a false or unsupportable quality
  • n. pretending with intention to deceive
  • n. imaginative intellectual play
  • n. the act of giving a false appearance
  • n. an artful or simulated semblance

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French pretensse, from Medieval Latin *praetēnsa, from Late Latin, feminine of praetēnsus, alteration of Latin praetentus, past participle of praetendere, to pretend, assert; see pretend.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French pretensse, from Late Latin prætensus, past participle of prætendere ("to pretend"), from præ- ("before") + tendere ("to stretch"); see pretend. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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