a person who pretends, especially for a dishonest purpose.
an aspirant or claimant (often followed by to): a pretender to the throne.
a person who makes unjustified or false claims, statements, etc., as about personal status, abilities, intentions, or the like: a pretender to literary genius.

Origin of pretender

First recorded in 1585–95; pretend + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pretender

Contemporary Examples of pretender

  • And cancer, deceiver, pretender, coward; it cannot even subsist without the vibrant people it depends on.

    The Daily Beast logo
    No One Ever Loses to Cancer

    Dushka Zapata

    October 8, 2014

  • All was jolly and genial between the king of late night and the pretender to the throne.

  • Rush Limbaugh has called Dede Scozzafava a “pretender” and an “extreme liberal Republican” who “might as well be a Democrat.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Last Days of the GOP

    John Batchelor

    October 30, 2009

Historical Examples of pretender

British Dictionary definitions for pretender



a person who pretends or makes false allegations
a person who mounts a claim, as to a throne or title
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 pretender

1590s, "one who intends;" 1620s as "one who puts forth a claim;" agent noun from pretend (v.). Specifically of a claimant to the English throne from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper