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

  • n. A specious allegation; a pretext.
  • n. A claim to something, such as a privilege or right. See Synonyms at claim.
  • n. The advancing of a claim.
  • n. Ostentatious display; pretentiousness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A claim or aspiration to a particular status or quality.
  • n. Pretentiousness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of pretending, or laying claim; the act of asserting right or title.
  • n. A claim made, whether true or false; a right alleged or assumed; a holding out the appearance of possessing a certain character.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of putting forth a claim (specifically, a false one), particularly to merit, dignity, or importance; pretentiousness.
  • n. Hence, a claim; an alleged or assumed right, not necessarily false.
  • n. A false representation; a pretext; a sham.
  • n. An assertion; a proposition.

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

  • n. the quality of being pretentious (behaving or speaking in such a manner as to create a false appearance of great importance or worth)
  • n. a false or unsupportable quality
  • n. the advancing of a claim


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The moment this pretension is abandoned the sword will drop from our grasp, and we shall be ready to enter into treaties of amity and commerce mutually beneficial.

    The Civil War in America

  • The first target of Everett's satire is the writing of fiction itself, which is portrayed implicitly as an enterprise saturated in pretension and moribund assumptions.

    October 2009

  • The almost complete lack of pretension is wonderful, though you can certainly find a bit of that in the gated communities.

    Moving to Matzatlan in 1 yr

  • Conservative status pretension might work differently, but status pretension is status pretension, and as a general matter, because the vast majority of educationally-based upwardly mobile classes in this country is liberal, it applies well to liberal habits.

    Matthew Yglesias » The Brie Factor

  • As an engineer my tolerance for pretension is generally lower that that of the academics!

    The Autobiography of Mister Litlove « Tales from the Reading Room

  • A Reader's Manifesto: Whatever happens, the old American scorn for pretension is bound to reassert itself someday, and dear God, let it be soon.

    August 2009

  • We're supposed to pretend that this embarrassing pretension is somehow normal, or worse, a statement of some sort.

    Oil and water (Jack Bog's Blog)

  • I mean i get they're young and talented musicians as a whole but there is also an immaturity that results in pretension (Hysterics? it's not a great name) and the titles of the songs.

    live from new york, it's sunday afternoon! (Music (For Robots))

  • Whatever happens, the old American scorn for pretension is bound to reassert itself someday, and dear God, let it be soon.

    A Reader's Manifesto

  • "I think the word pretension has become like the word ironic - just this catch-all term to distance people from interesting experiences and cultural engagement and possible embarrassment.

    Music news, reviews, comment and features |


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