pretend

verb
pre·​tend | \ pri-ˈtend How to pronounce pretend (audio) \
pretended; pretending; pretends

Definition of pretend

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing does not pretend to be a psychiatrist
2a : to make believe : feign he pretended deafness
b : to claim, represent, or assert falsely pretending an emotion he could not really feel
3 archaic : venture, undertake

intransitive verb

1 : to feign an action, part, or role especially in play
2 : to put in a claim cannot pretend to any particular expertise— Clive Barnes

pretend

adjective

Definition of pretend (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for pretend

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for pretend

Verb

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

Examples of pretend in a Sentence

Verb He had a big stain on his shirt, but I pretended not to notice. The children pretended to be asleep. She looked like she was enjoying the party but she was just pretending. It was a mistake, and to pretend otherwise would be foolish. The children were pretending to be animals. He pretended to make a phone call. Let's just pretend for a moment. I'm your boss. What would you say to me? Adjective The children played on a pretend train. if you were to see the movie's pretend jewels in real life, you wouldn't be fooled for a minute
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the Under Wisconsin Skies exhibit, kids can pretend to set up a tent to camp, pack up their jeep, build a fire and roast marshmallows. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Child-sized Kwik Trip, Harley and Sendik's are some of the hands-on exhibits at Wisconsin children's museums," 31 Jan. 2020 In 1772, colonists pretended to be Native Americans and set a British ship called Gaspee on fire. Jennifer Percy, Harper's magazine, "The Skinning Tree," 20 Jan. 2020 Some of these countries around the world pretend it wasn't them-- MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. SEN. CBS News, "Transcript: Senator Marco Rubio on "Face the Nation," January 5, 2020," 5 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, Candace pretends to be a movie producer called Amy Adam, and seduces Love's brother, Forty. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Flashback in You Season 2 Reveals What Joe Did to Candace, and It's Horrifying," 27 Dec. 2019 Panjandrums such as Tony Blair’s loathed former spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, pretended that what was needed was a second vote. Douglas Murray, National Review, "Brexit, for Real This Time," 19 Dec. 2019 There’s a record of algorithmic content pretending to be from individuals, as well. Bruce Schneier, The Atlantic, "The Future of Politics Is Robots Shouting at One Another," 7 Jan. 2020 First Harrison was alerted that scammers were sending fraudulent text messages pretending to be with the bank recently. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Regional bank warns of scammers using text messages to elicit private banking information," 3 Jan. 2020 What’s more, managers can’t even tell the difference between people who are working superhuman hours and those who are just pretending to be. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Young and ambitious? Don’t devote nights and weekends to your employer—do this instead," 26 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Everyone assumed that people would have some fun playing around with a pretend currency for a year or two and then move on. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Remember Dogecoin? The joke currency soared to $2 billion this weekend," 8 Jan. 2018 Trump has also probably accomplished more pretend truck-driving than any of his predecessors. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump: 48 Senate Votes for Trumpcare ‘Impressive by Any Standard’," 18 July 2017 In March, GGP said part of the space currently occupied by Sears will be filled by KidZania, a children's entertainment business with miniature cities where kids can play at pretend jobs. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, "Sears temporarily closing Oakbrook Center store," 20 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pretend

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1708, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pretend

Verb

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

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Time Traveler for pretend

Time Traveler

The first known use of pretend was in the 15th century

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Statistics for pretend

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pretend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pretend. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for pretend

pretend

verb
How to pronounce pretend (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pretend

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to act as if something is true when it is not true
: to imagine and act out (a particular role, situation, etc.)

pretend

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pretend (Entry 2 of 2)

informal : not real

pretend

verb
pre·​tend | \ pri-ˈtend How to pronounce pretend (audio) \
pretended; pretending

Kids Definition of pretend

1 : to make believe Let's pretend we're riding on a bus.
2 : to put forward as true something that is not true She will pretend friendship.

Other Words from pretend

pretender noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on pretend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pretend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pretend

Spanish Central: Translation of pretend

Nglish: Translation of pretend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pretend for Arabic Speakers

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