[ pri-tens, pree-tens ]
/ prɪˈtɛns, ˈpri tɛns /

noun Chiefly British.

Definition for pretence (2 of 2)


[ pri-tens, pree-tens ]
/ prɪˈtɛns, ˈpri tɛns /


Also especially British, pre·tence.

Origin of pretense

1375–1425; late Middle English < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin *praetēnsa, noun use of feminine of praetēnsus, past participle (replacing Latin praetentus) of praetendere to pretend
1 shamming.
Related formspre·tense·ful, adjectivepre·tense·less, adjective
Can be confusedpretense pretext Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pretence

British Dictionary definitions for pretence


US pretense

/ (prɪˈtɛns) /


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)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper