verb pre·tend \pri-ˈtend\

: to act as if something is true when it is not true

: to imagine and act out (a particular role, situation, etc.)

Full Definition of PRETEND

transitive verb
:  to give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing <does not pretend to be a psychiatrist>
a :  to make believe :  feign <he pretended deafness>
b :  to claim, represent, or assert falsely <pretending an emotion he could not really feel>
archaic :  venture, undertake
intransitive verb
:  to feign an action, part, or role especially in play
:  to put in a claim <cannot pretend to any particular expertise — Clive Barnes>

Examples of PRETEND

  1. He had a big stain on his shirt, but I pretended not to notice.
  2. The children pretended to be asleep.
  3. She looked like she was enjoying the party but she was just pretending.
  4. It was a mistake, and to pretend otherwise would be foolish.
  5. The children were pretending to be animals.
  6. He pretended to make a phone call.
  7. Let's just pretend for a moment. I'm your boss. What would you say to me?

Origin of PRETEND

Middle English, from Anglo-French pretendre, from Latin praetendere to allege as an excuse, literally, to stretch out, from prae- pre- + tendere to stretch — more at thin
First Known Use: 15th century

Related to PRETEND

dissemble, dissimulate, let on, make out, make a pretense, make a show, make believe, put on an act, put up a front

Synonym Discussion of PRETEND

assume, affect, pretend, simulate, feign, counterfeit, sham mean to put on a false or deceptive appearance. assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive <assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients>. affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling <affected an interest in art>. pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance <pretended that nothing had happened>. simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something <cosmetics that simulate a suntan>. feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate <feigned sickness>. counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words <an actor counterfeiting drunkenness>. sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible <shammed a most unconvincing limp>.



: not real

Full Definition of PRETEND

:  imaginary, make-believe <had a pretend pal with whom he talked>
:  not genuine :  mock <pretend pearls>
:  being a nonfunctional imitation <a pretend train for the children to play in>

Examples of PRETEND

  1. The children played on a pretend train.
  2. <if you were to see the movie's pretend jewels in real life, you wouldn't be fooled for a minute>

First Known Use of PRETEND

PRETENDING Defined for Kids


verb pre·tend \pri-ˈtend\

Definition of PRETEND for Kids

:  to make believe <Let's pretend we're riding on a bus.>
:  to put forward as true something that is not true <She will pretend friendship.>
pre·tend·er noun


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