pre·​tend·​er | \ pri-ˈten-dər How to pronounce pretender (audio) \

Definition of pretender

: one that pretends: such as
a : one who lays claim to something specifically : a claimant to a throne who is held to have no just title
b : one who makes a false or hypocritical show

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Examples of pretender in a Sentence

it turns out that the guy who claimed to work for a modeling agency was just a pretender

Recent Examples on the Web

Now, as nomination voting gets underway, the question is, which ones are pretenders and which are real contenders? Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: Which New Shows Have a Shot at Landing Nominations?," 14 June 2019 Not so for the various pretenders to the throne, such as WhatsApp, Slack, Twitter, and Facebook. Hiawatha Bray,, "Gmail’s face lift, new brains show that e-mail is far from obsolete," 26 Apr. 2018 Which Sweet 16 teams are contenders or just pretenders? USA TODAY, "An Uber tragedy could upend the self-driving car industry," 19 Mar. 2018 On September 21, love was changing the minds of pretenders while chasing the clouds away. Aja Romano, Vox, "Do you remember the very best meme of September?," 21 Sep. 2018 The titans of aerospace have scrambled to remake themselves, or die, in the new world where Musk is not a pretender but the leading protagonist. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Inside the eight desperate weeks that saved SpaceX from ruin," 21 Sep. 2018 That’s why almost all the mangoes in American markets are the fine-looking but bland, fibrous pretenders from Florida, Brazil or Mexico, not the storied ones of India. Chandrahas Choudhury, WSJ, "On the Great Indian Mango Trail," 6 July 2018 The difference between contenders and pretenders was very noticeable from the start. Juan Pimiento,, "Real Madrid, Juve advance in Champions League and the best of the week in soccer," 8 Mar. 2018 At this time of the season, there’s not much clarity to differentiating between the contenders and pretenders, which could create more suitors, especially among those underachieving teams out there such as the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Taking a hard — and realistic look — at the Orioles' trade possibilities with Manny Machado," 28 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretender.' 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 pretender

1583, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for pretender

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pretender

The first known use of pretender was in 1583

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More Definitions for pretender



English Language Learners Definition of pretender

: someone who claims to have the right to a particular title or position (such as king or queen) when others do not agree

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Comments on pretender

What made you want to look up pretender? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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