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

dissemble, dissimulate, let on, make out

Synonyms: Adjective

artificial, bogus, dummy, ersatz, factitious, fake, false, faux, imitation, imitative, man-made, mimic, mock, sham, simulated, substitute, synthetic

Antonyms: Adjective

genuine, natural, real

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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

An Arizona man was accused of pretending to have Down syndrome and hired caregivers to bathe him and change his diapers, police said. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Arizona man fakes having Down syndrome, hires women to bathe him and change his diapers: police," 15 Sep. 2018 Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter The self-deprecating star was not done there, and also gave fans a laugh by pretending to have some sticky fingers inside a Sephora store. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Chrissy Teigen Risks the Wrath of Mommy Shamers as She Tries to Achieve the Perfect Family Photo," 2 July 2018 The Closet’’ is that an employee could hold onto his job by pretending to be gay, betting that his company’s fear of being accused of homophobia and discrimination would outweigh its desire to fire him. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "‘The Closet’ plays sexual identity for old-fashioned laughs," 1 July 2018 So, how did a comedian apparently reach the U.S. president by pretending to be Menendez? CBS News, "How a comedian's prank call was allegedly patched through to the president," 1 July 2018 Then Dolores-as-Charlotte kills the real Charlotte Hale, and finally escapes Westworld by pretending to be her. Scott Meslow, GQ, "Westworld Finale: Let's Break Down Every Bonkers Thing That Happened," 25 June 2018 There are more Canadians pretending to be American. Vogue, "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding," 15 Nov. 2018 The automated calls are narrated by someone pretending to be Gillum and using an exaggerated minstrel dialect with jungle noises in the background. Dylan Scott, Vox, "How racist robocalls and an FBI inquiry are shaking up the Florida governor’s race," 7 Nov. 2018 My favorite Disney character was Mulan, a girl pretending to be a boy. Nicole Talbot, Teen Vogue, "Massachusetts Must Vote Yes on Ballot Question 3 to Protect Transgender Rights," 12 Oct. 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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Statistics for pretend

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

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)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pretend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pretend

Spanish Central: Translation of pretend

Nglish: Translation of pretend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pretend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pretend

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