[pri-ten-shuh n]


Origin of pretension

First recorded in 1590–1600, pretension is from the Medieval Latin word praetēnsiōn- (stem of praetēnsiō). See pretense, -ion


[pree-ten-shuh n]

verb (used with object)

(in prestressed-concrete construction) to apply tension to (reinforcing strands) before the concrete is poured.Compare posttension(def 1).
to make (a concrete member) with pretensioned reinforcement.

Origin of pretension

First recorded in 1935–40; pre- + tension Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pretension

Contemporary Examples of pretension

  • Trekkies are defensive about the minutiae of their sacred source material, sometimes to the point of pretension.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Is J.J. Abrams Lost in Space?

    Sujay Kumar

    May 19, 2013

  • Humor, after all, is a social corrective against arrogance, ignorance and pretension.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Comedian Political Takeover

    John Avlon

    September 25, 2010

  • But it's also because, from the APF's point of view, pretension is bad business.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Little Gimmicks Fund Big Exhibits

    W.M. Akers

    September 22, 2010

  • People loved Julia because she was very straightforward, and she didn't put on any airs, or have any pretension.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Julia Loosened Me Up

    Jacques Pepin

    August 4, 2009

  • “So corrupt, evil, vile American liberal culture, such United States pretension,” as Pygmy reports.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Prince of Gibberish

    Allen Barra

    June 6, 2009

Historical Examples of pretension

British Dictionary definitions for pretension



(often plural) a false or unsupportable claim, esp to merit, worth, or importance
a specious or unfounded allegation; pretext
the state or quality of being pretentious
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 pretension

mid-15c., "assertion, allegation; objection; intention; signification," from Medieval Latin pretensionem (nominative praetensio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin praetendere "stretch in front, put forward, allege" (see pretend (v.)). Meaning "unproven claim" is from c.1600. Sense of "ostentation" is from 1727.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper