- to cause or attempt to cause (what is not so) to seem so: to pretend illness; to pretend that nothing is wrong.
- to appear falsely, as to deceive; feign: to pretend to go to sleep.
- to make believe: The children pretended to be cowboys.
- to presume; venture: I can't pretend to say what went wrong.
- to allege or profess, especially insincerely or falsely: He pretended to have no knowledge of her whereabouts.
- to make believe.
- to lay claim to (usually followed by to): She pretended to the throne.
- to make pretensions (usually followed by to): He pretends to great knowledge.
- Obsolete. to aspire, as a suitor or candidate (followed by to).
- Informal. make-believe; simulated; counterfeit: pretend diamonds.
Origin of pretend
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pretend
For Kirke it was being paid to pretend to play the oboe that heightened her affair with classical music.‘Mozart in the Jungle’: Inside Amazon’s Brave New World of Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music
December 23, 2014
The irony has thinned with the economy, perhaps: Who can really afford just to pretend to DIY today?Glenn Beck Is Now Selling Hipster Clothes. Really.
Ana Marie Cox
December 20, 2014
Quickly, the lines between their pretend feelings for each other and their real ones are blurred.Team Peeta or Team Gale: Why the ‘Hunger Games’ Love Triangle Ruins ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’
November 28, 2014
Or: “Jazz: Just pretend you like it, that's what everyone else is doing.”What’s With This Uncool Surge in Jazz Bashing?
November 2, 2014
So just pretend that stuff never happens, would you, ladies?Renee Zellweger’s Fine, But We Need Some Work: The Toxic Pursuit of ‘Effortless’ Beauty
October 22, 2014
She would fall in with his better mood and pretend goodness!Weighed and Wanting
I must not pretend, then, that I have a system ready to replace all the other systems.A Treatise on Parents and Children
George Bernard Shaw
When they come in, pretend you just came here in order to meet me.
Why did you pretend to me that you and your wife were alone in the room—when you had that there with you, eh?
Stretch yourself full-length in this arm-chair, and pretend to be dead.The Imaginary Invalid
- (when tr, usually takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to claim or allege (something untrue)
- (tr; may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to make believe, as in a playyou pretend to be Ophelia
- (intr foll by to) to present a claim, esp a dubious oneto pretend to the throne
- (intr foll by to) obsolete to aspire as a candidate or suitor (for)
- fanciful; make-believe; simulateda pretend gun
Word Origin and History for pretend
late 14c., "to profess, assert, maintain" (a claim, etc.), "to direct (one's) efforts," from Old French pretendre "to lay claim," from Latin praetendere "stretch in front, put forward, allege," from prae "before" (see pre-) + tendere "to stretch," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch" (see tend).
Main modern sense of "feign, put forward a false claim" is recorded from c.1400; the older sense of simply "to claim" is behind the string of royal pretenders (1690s) in English history. Meaning "to play, make believe" is recorded from 1865. In 17c. pretend also could mean "make a suit of marriage for," from a sense in French. Related: Pretended; pretending.
"fact of pretending," 1888, from children's talk, from pretend (v.). Earlier in same sense was verbal noun pretending (1640s).