- 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 for pretense on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pretence
Although Vanessa comforted herself with the pretence that I had two fathers, in reality—emotional reality, that is—I had none.House of Cads: Growing Up Amid the Weirdness of Bloomsbury
April 10, 2014
Kelly, however, goes a step further and abandons any pretence of subtlety.R. Kelly’s Craziest Lyrics From ‘Black Panties,’ Analyzed
December 3, 2013
At his most devastating, Ellison abandons any pretence of literary realism.American Nightmare: Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’ at 60
June 28, 2012
The latest addition to the most-wanted list, Hafeez Saeed, the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, does not even make any pretence of hiding.Obama’s Deal With Afghanistan Underscores Its Crucial Role in the War on Terror
May 3, 2012
We can't disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.Obama's Egypt Address
The Daily Beast Video
June 4, 2009
When he "played" with Baby Akemit thereafter, the pretence was not all with the child.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Only three of them she knew made any pretence of earning their living.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
Only, the cruelty must be whitewashed by a moral excuse, and a pretence of reluctance.A Treatise on Parents and Children
George Bernard Shaw
I shall probably put off his arrival under some pretence or other.Lady Susan
She loved him so much that she could not keep up this pretence of strength!The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
- the act of pretending
- a false display; affectation
- a claim, esp a false one, to a right, title, or distinction
- make-believe or feigning
- a false claim or allegation; pretext
- a less common word for pretension (def. 3)
Word Origin and History for pretence
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.