pre·​tend·​er pri-ˈten-dər How to pronounce pretender (audio)
: one that pretends: such as
: one who lays claim to something
specifically : a claimant to a throne who is held to have no just title
: one who makes a false or hypocritical show

Example Sentences

it turns out that the guy who claimed to work for a modeling agency was just a pretender
Recent Examples on the Web But can Phoenix prove again it’s a title contender, not a pretender following that crushing Game 7 blowout loss to Dallas in the West semifinals? Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 17 Oct. 2022 Seemingly everyone sized up Nicole as a pretender – sort of. Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel, 9 Nov. 2022 Ugly wins count just as much as pretty ones, but Matt Ryan and Co. will need to be far better to move Indy out of the pretender category. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Oct. 2022 That's an elder-god-stomps-the-pretender moment, a legendary titan clawing back from a time before time to put little Zeus in his place. Darren Franich,, 16 Aug. 2022 Other listeners understand the album’s influences of house, techno, and related subgenres, including South African Amapiano and Baltimore club—and judge Drake’s efforts to be the work of a pretender. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 22 June 2022 Last Fall a new pretender arrived in the world’s most advanced electric vehicle market. Mark Faithfull, Forbes, 7 July 2022 At issue here for the Rams is a recent humiliating loss to the New York Jets and the real possibility that Jared Goff’s squad is nothing more than a pretender. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 10 Aug. 2021 His impact on English — on global — soccer extends way beyond his taking a glamorous pretender and transforming it into the most consistently successful English club of the 21st century. New York Times, 4 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1583, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pretender was in 1583

Dictionary Entries Near pretender

Cite this Entry

“Pretender.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


pre·​tend·​er pri-ˈten-dər How to pronounce pretender (audio)
: a person who pretends
: a person who claims a throne without right

More from Merriam-Webster on pretender

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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