Definitions

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

  • noun A false appearance or action intended to deceive.
  • noun A professed but feigned reason or excuse; a pretext.
  • noun Something imagined or pretended.
  • noun The quality or state of being pretentious; ostentation.
  • noun A false or studied show; an affectation.
  • noun A claim or assertion to a right, especially a false one.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An intention; a design; a purpose.
  • noun 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.
  • noun That under cover of which an actual design or meaning is concealed; a pretext.
  • noun Pretension; aspiration; the putting forth of a claim, particularly to merit, dignity, or personal worth; pretentiousness.
  • noun A claim; a right asserted, with or without foundation.

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

  • noun The act of laying claim; the claim laid; assumption; pretension.
  • noun 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
  • noun That which is pretended; false, deceptive, or hypocritical show, argument, or reason; pretext; feint.
  • noun obsolete Intention; design.

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French pretensse, from Late Latin prætensus, past participle of prætendere ("to pretend"), from præ- ("before") + tendere ("to stretch"); see pretend.

Examples

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