- pretending or feigning; make-believe: My sleepiness was all pretense.
- a false show of something: a pretense of friendship.
- a piece of make-believe.
- the act of pretending or alleging falsely.
- a false allegation or justification: He excused himself from the lunch on a pretense of urgent business.
- insincere or false profession: His pious words were mere pretense.
- the putting forth of an unwarranted claim.
- the claim itself.
- any allegation or claim: to obtain money under false pretenses.
- pretension (usually followed by to): destitute of any pretense to wit.
Origin of pretense
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pretense
In Iraq and Syria, unlike in Libya, there is no pretense that this is anything less than war in the constitutional sense.Who Gets to Decide When We Go to War?
September 21, 2014
We would perhaps be tossing out any pretense of traditional baseball in exchange for popular thrill-a-minute spectacle.Can Baseball’s All-Star Game Be Saved?
Peter C. Bjarkman
July 15, 2014
They are winning incremental battles under the pretense of health regulations and parental consent.Ten Reasons Women Are Losing While Gays Keep Winning
July 6, 2014
There is not even the pretense of actual interaction with voters.Good Riddance to Steve Stockman, the Grifter Congressman Who Ran for Senate
March 4, 2014
All along, Orman never made any pretense about her sexuality.Can Suze Orman Save America?
November 10, 2013
She had been convicted of blackmail, and she made no pretense even of innocence.Within the Law
Ben pretended to be vexed with Dick and Tom, but it was only pretense.The Dare Boys of 1776
Stephen Angus Cox
“Tell us some more about Big Brother Bill,” she said, with the pretense of a sigh.The Law-Breakers
Hastily he threw on the packs, making no pretense at neat packing.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
That cannot be simulated; the pretense of it is in general, in the long run, futile.Latin America and the United States
Word Origin and History for pretense
also pretence, early 15c., "the putting forth of a claim," from Anglo-French pretensse, Middle French pretensse (Modern French prétense), from Medieval Latin noun use of fem. of Late Latin praetensus, altered from Latin praetentus, past participle of praetendere (see pretend). Meaning "false or hypocritical profession" is from 1540s.