- something that is put forward to conceal a true purpose or object; an ostensible reason; excuse: The leaders used the insults as a pretext to declare war.
- the misleading appearance or behavior assumed with this intention: His many lavish compliments were a pretext for subtle mockery.
Origin of pretext
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pretext
Maula Bux himself was killed in 2006, after being lured across the border by Iranian forces on the pretext of a drug deal.The Dangerous Drug-Funded Secret War Between Iran and Pakistan
December 29, 2014
Some Syrian rebel groups maintain that the Americans invented Khorasan as a pretext for the attack.Spies Warned White House: Don’t Hit Al Qaeda in Syria
Shane Harris, Jamie Dettmer
November 7, 2014
But he warned against using the pretext of defense to launch vast campaigns of destruction.Pope Francis vs. The Warmongers
Barbie Latza Nadeau
September 13, 2014
That pretext may have come with the violence that erupted in the port city of Odessa on yesterday.Carnage in Ukraine: Dozens of Pro-Russia Activists Die in Odessa
May 3, 2014
There is the critical difference that in this case the U.S. administration is not looking for a pretext to go to war.Western Intelligence Suspects Assad Has a Secret Chemical Stockpile
Noah Shachtman, Christopher Dickey
May 1, 2014
Now, by some pretext, by some wile, he must live to see her once more.Way of the Lawless
The pretext is none of mine; it's hers, and she shall have enough of it.'Little Dorrit
His son, who was then at Court with him, was, upon the pretext of a liaison with Mdlle.Reflections
Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld
She had not got at all wet when standing under the window, and had said so only as a pretext to get him to let her in.
I lived for men on the pretext of living for God, while she lived for God imagining that she lives for men.
- a fictitious reason given in order to conceal the real one
- a specious excuse; pretence
Word Origin and History for pretext
1510s, from French prétexte, from Latin praetextum "a pretext, outward display," noun use of neuter past participle of praetexere "to disguise, cover," literally "weave in front" (for sense, cf. pull the wool over (someone's) eyes); from prae- "in front" (see pre-) + texere "to weave," from PIE root *tek- "make" (see texture (n.)).