Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To give a false appearance of; feign.
  • intransitive verb To claim or allege insincerely or falsely.
  • intransitive verb To represent fictitiously in play; make believe.
  • intransitive verb To take upon oneself; venture.
  • intransitive verb To feign an action or character, as in play.
  • intransitive verb To lay claim.
  • adjective Imitation; make-believe.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To hold out before one or in front; stretch forward; hence, to put before one for action, consideration, or acceptance; offer; present.
  • To put forward as a statement or an assertion; especially, to allege or declare falsely or with intent to deceive.
  • To put forward as a reason or excuse; use as a pretext; allege as a ground or reason; hence, to put forward a false appearance of; simulate; counterfeit; feign.
  • To lay claim to; assert as a right or possession; claim.
  • To aspire to; attempt; undertake.
  • To intend; design; plan; plot.
  • To presage; portend; forebode.
  • To stretch or reach forward; aim; aspire: often with to.
  • To lay claim; assert a right of ownership or possession: generally followed by to.
  • To make pretense; make believe; counterfeit or feign.

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

  • intransitive verb To put in, or make, a claim, truly or falsely; to allege a title; to lay claim to, or strive after, something; -- usually with to.
  • intransitive verb To hold out the appearance of being, possessing, or performing; to profess; to make believe; to feign; to sham.
  • transitive verb To lay a claim to; to allege a title to; to claim.
  • transitive verb rare To hold before, or put forward, as a cloak or disguise for something else; to exhibit as a veil for something hidden.
  • transitive verb To hold out, or represent, falsely; to put forward, or offer, as true or real (something untrue or unreal); to show hypocritically, or for the purpose of deceiving; to simulate; to feign.
  • transitive verb obsolete To intend; to design; to plot; to attempt.
  • transitive verb obsolete To hold before one; to extend.

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

  • verb To make oneself appear to do or be doing something; to engage in make-believe.

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

  • verb put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation
  • verb put forward a claim and assert right or possession of
  • noun the enactment of a pretense
  • adjective imagined as in a play
  • verb make believe with the intent to deceive
  • verb represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like
  • verb behave unnaturally or affectedly
  • verb state insincerely

Etymologies

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

[Middle English pretenden, from Old French pretendre, from Latin praetendere : prae-, pre- + tendere, to extend; see ten- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman pretendre, Middle French pretendre (French prétendre ("to claim, demand")), from Latin praetendere, present active infinitive of praetendō ("put forward, hold out, pretend"), from prae- ("pre-") + tendō ("stretch"); see tend.

Examples

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