noun pre·tense \ˈprē-ˌten(t)s, pri-ˈ\

: a false reason or explanation that is used to hide the real purpose of something

: an act or appearance that looks real but is false

: a claim of having a particular quality, ability, condition, etc.

Full Definition of PRETENSE

:  a claim made or implied; especially :  one not supported by fact
a :  mere ostentation :  pretentiousness <confuse dignity with pomposity and pretense — Bennett Cerf>
b :  a pretentious act or assertion
:  an inadequate or insincere attempt to attain a certain condition or quality
:  professed rather than real intention or purpose :  pretext <was there under false pretenses>
:  false show :  simulation <saw through his pretense of indifference>

Variants of PRETENSE

pre·tense or pre·tence \ˈprē-ˌten(t)s, pri-ˈ\

Examples of PRETENSE

  1. We tried to keep up the pretense that everything was fine.
  2. Their indifference is merely pretense.

Origin of PRETENSE

Middle English, probably modification of Medieval Latin pretensio, irregular from Latin praetendere
First Known Use: 15th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: pretenselessPrevious Word in the Dictionary: pretenderismAll Words Near: pretense
March 28, 2015
persiflage Hear it
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