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false pretenses

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plural noun

a deliberate misrepresentation of facts, as to obtain title to money or property.
the use of such misrepresentation.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of false pretenses

First recorded in 1750–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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