pretend

verb
pre·tend | \pri-ˈtend \
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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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

Young kids will like, pretend to have YouTube channels, and they’re being raised to be seen. refinery29.com, "Eighth Grade's Elsie Fisher Shares What She Wishes People Knew About Gen Z," 11 July 2018 Donald Trump doesn’t even pretend to speak to or for all Americans. Laura Mcgann, Vox, "Sarah Sanders is upset a restaurant wouldn’t serve her. She’s OK with it happening to gays.," 24 June 2018 That’s a pretty heavy charge against a party that got Barack Obama into office and promotes California Sen. Kamala Harris and occasionally sorta pretends to care about black women voters. Jason Johnson, The Root, "I Finally See It: Democrats Don’t Hate Trump As Much as They Love White Supremacy," 21 June 2018 If that sort of thing isn’t to your liking, pretend to be Molly Bloom and ask your partner to bring you a good breakfast, preferably in bed. latimes.com, "Food odysseys," 16 June 2018 In most cases, pretending to be psychic is just one of many exploitative schemes for these imposters. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "How to Tap Into Your Own Psychic Abilities," 2 July 2018 Jones became so popular that in Virginia, another impostor was caught pretending to be her. Jeff Maysh, Smithsonian, "The Counterfeit Queen of Soul," 28 June 2018 Thankfully, Kansas City has experience pretending ground chuck is a ribeye... Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 1:21 Could Kansas City be a host city for the 2026 World Cup? Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Herrera's gone, what's next for Royals and worrisome about Chiefs," 19 June 2018 There is nothing commendable about leaving all work to others, or in pretending that no level of work is essential to survival. Brian O’connor, Time, "Why Doing Nothing Is One of the Most Important Things You Can Do," 15 June 2018

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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Learn More about pretend

Phrases Related to pretend

pretend to (something)

Statistics for pretend

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pretend

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

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More Definitions for pretend

pretend

verb

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)

: not real

pretend

verb
pre·tend | \pri-ˈtend \
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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Comments on pretend

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