Definition of pretense
1 : a claim made or implied; especially : one not supported by fact
3 : an inadequate or insincere attempt to attain a certain condition or quality
4 : professed rather than real intention or purpose : pretext was there under false pretenses
6 : false show : simulation saw through his pretense of indifference
Examples of pretense in a sentence
We tried to keep up the pretense that everything was fine.
Their indifference is merely pretense.
Origin and Etymology of pretense
Middle English, probably modification of Medieval Latin pretensio, irregular from Latin praetendere
First Known Use: 15th century
PRETENSE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pretense for English Language Learners
: 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.
PRETENSE Defined for Kids
Definition of pretense for Students
1 : an act or appearance that looks real but is false He made a pretense of studying.
2 : an effort to reach a certain condition or quality His report makes no pretense at completeness.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up pretense? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).