1

pretend

play
verb pre·tend \ pri-ˈtend \

Definition of pretend

transitive verb
1 :to give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing
  • does not pretend to be a psychiatrist
2 a :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

Examples of pretend in a Sentence

  1. He had a big stain on his shirt, but I pretended not to notice.

  2. The children pretended to be asleep.

  3. She looked like she was enjoying the party but she was just pretending.

  4. It was a mistake, and to pretend otherwise would be foolish.

  5. The children were pretending to be animals.

  6. He pretended to make a phone call.

  7. Let's just pretend for a moment. I'm your boss. What would you say to me?

Recent Examples of pretend from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of pretend

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

pretend Synonyms

Synonyms
dissemble, dissimulate, let on, make out, make a pretense, make a show, make believe, put on an act, put up a front
Related Words
act, impersonate, masquerade, play, playact, pose; affect, assume, counterfeit, fake, feign, profess, put on, sham, simulate; camouflage, conceal, disguise, mask; bluff, feint

Synonym Discussion of pretend

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

2

pretend

adjective

Definition of pretend

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

Examples of pretend in a Sentence

  1. The children played on a pretend train.

  2. if you were to see the movie's pretend jewels in real life, you wouldn't be fooled for a minute

Recent Examples of pretend from the Web

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.

First Known Use of pretend

1708



PRETEND Defined for English Language Learners

pretend

play
verb

Definition of pretend for English Language Learners

  • : to act as if something is true when it is not true

  • : to imagine and act out (a particular role, situation, etc.)


pretend

adjective

Definition of pretend for English Language Learners

  • : not real


PRETEND Defined for Kids

pretend

play
verb pre·tend \ pri-ˈtend \

Definition of pretend for Students

pretended; pretending
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.

pretender

noun


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