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 Truman’s mother and father and wife and best friend are actors who pretend to love him. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Paranoid Style in American Entertainment," 14 May 2020 The pandemic has lifted the veil on all sorts of obvious but seldom-acknowledged societal issues, but few have been as comical as the distance between ordinary people and the celebrities who pretend to relate to them. Carina Chocano, New York Times, "What’s the Point of a Celebrity in a Pandemic?," 6 May 2020 Her mother was a dancer who pretended not to smoke cigarettes. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Emma Straub's 'All Adults Here' Is Marie Clarie's May Book Club Pick," 1 May 2020 Watch out for spoofed email addresses that pretend to be from your friend or bank or the IRS or Walmart. cleveland, "New Year’s resolutions to help you be safer, richer, less stressed: Money Matters," 29 Dec. 2019 For kicks, pretend to hitch a ride on a sailboat or sea lion in La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur in northwestern Mexico. Washington Post, "Even if you can’t travel, your Zoom meetings can," 15 Apr. 2020 Danielle and Mikey pretended to get married and faked a pregnancy. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Danielle Cohn," 2 Apr. 2020 No commissioner or league executive even pretends to know, and the Milan soccer game stands as a cautionary tale for any tempted to rush back into a season. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "Finger: Italy’s ‘Game Zero’ shows why March Madness had to go," 26 Mar. 2020 For so long, Americans have pretended that our home lives are irrelevant to our work. Danielle J. Lindemann, Quartz at Work, "Work-life balance is a lie—and coronavirus is exposing it," 26 Mar. 2020 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

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pretend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pretend. Accessed 4 Jun. 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

Comments on pretend

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