noun pre·ten·sion \pri-ˈten(t)-shən\

: the unpleasant quality of people who think of themselves as more impressive, successful, or important than they really are

: a desire to do something or a claim to be something that is impressive or important

Full Definition of PRETENSION

:  an allegation of doubtful value :  pretext
:  a claim or an effort to establish a claim
:  a claim or right to attention or honor because of merit
:  an aspiration or intention that may or may not reach fulfillment <has serious literary pretensions>
pre·ten·sion·less \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of PRETENSION

  1. He spoke about his achievements without pretension.
  2. I admire his honesty and lack of pretension.
  3. The restaurant offers excellent food without pretension.

First Known Use of PRETENSION

15th century

Synonym Discussion of PRETENSION

ambition, aspiration, pretension mean strong desire for advancement. ambition applies to the desire for personal advancement or preferment and may suggest equally a praiseworthy or an inordinate desire <driven by ambition>. aspiration implies a striving after something higher than oneself <an aspiration to become president someday>. pretension suggests ardent desire for recognition of accomplishment often without actual possession of the necessary ability and therefore may imply presumption <has literary pretensions>.


verb pre·ten·sion \ˌprē-ˈten(t)-shən\

Definition of PRETENSION

transitive verb
:  prestress


pre- + 2tension
First Known Use: 1937

Other Civil Engineering Terms

asphalt, ballast, barrage, cantilever, infrastructure, sluice


Next Word in the Dictionary: pretensivePrevious Word in the Dictionary: pretenselessAll Words Near: pretension
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