[ pree-tekst ]
/ ˈpri tɛkst /


something that is put forward to conceal a true purpose or object; an ostensible reason; excuse: The leaders used the insults as a pretext to declare war.
the misleading appearance or behavior assumed with this intention: His many lavish compliments were a pretext for subtle mockery.

Origin of pretext

1505–15; < Latin praetextum pretext, ornament, noun use of neuter past participle of praetexere to pretend, literally, to weave in front, hence, adorn. See pre-, texture

Can be confused

pretense pretext Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pretext

British Dictionary definitions for pretext


/ (ˈpriːtɛkst) /


a fictitious reason given in order to conceal the real one
a specious excuse; pretence

Word Origin for pretext

C16: from Latin praetextum disguise, from praetexere to weave in front, disguise; see texture
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