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

When candidates say, 'At least Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are pretending to be interested,' sh--, that is not enough. Fox News, "New York Times Kavanaugh 'bombshell' appears to begin imploding; Auto workers go on strike against GM," 16 Sep. 2019 At the moment, a few powerful people in college athletics are pretending this is a problem. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "In NCAA fight, athletes inching closer to fairness," 10 Sep. 2019 And then there were the guys who never pretended to make friends — like Harvey Weinstein. Stephen Galloway, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why Nobody in Hollywood Has Any Friends," 30 Aug. 2019 Even brands that didn’t pretend to be fashion-forward never seemed to try to sell their clothes on models who looked like the women who bought them. Kate Harding, Teen Vogue, "How Far Have We Really Come for Fat Acceptance?," 26 Aug. 2019 Authorities must also stop pretending that entire coastlines can be defended. The Economist, "One way or another the deluge is coming," 15 Aug. 2019 Aguilar humorously tipped his cap on his own way off the field, pretending that the ovation was for him as he was swapped out during the double switch. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Nine moments that made Milwaukee Brewers fans fall in love with Jesús Aguilar," 31 July 2019 But be careful to download the real deal—adware and other malware loves to hide in apps that pretend to be adware scanners. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Adware Is the Malware You Should Actually Worry About," 21 July 2019 There are bots created by artists that find interesting patterns in society; bots that inform us about history; bots that ask searching questions about the relationship between people and machines by pretending to be human. Noam Cohen, The New Yorker, "Will California’s New Bot Law Strengthen Democracy?," 2 July 2019

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

14 Oct 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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