Definition of pretense
1 : a claim made or implied; especially : one not supported by fact
3 : an inadequate or insincere attempt to attain a certain condition or quality
4 : professed rather than real intention or purpose : pretext was there under false pretenses
6 : false show : simulation saw through his pretense of indifference
Examples of pretense in a Sentence
We tried to keep up the pretense that everything was fine.
Their indifference is merely pretense.
Recent Examples of pretense from the Web
But in June the site found the limits of those excuses with a news piece about forthcoming Stranger Things action figures—given such a flimsy pretense to discuss the show, the piece mostly pointed readers back to previous stories about Survive.
Americans, therefore, celebrate the Fourth of July under false pretenses.
So let’s avoid any more pretense and get right to the center of the best (and worst) (depending on whether you’re Amber or not) finale in this show’s history.
Day-Lewis embodied Acting with a capital A, embracing all of its finicky pretense.
There was no pretense or ostentation here, no fancy finger work for its own sake, just jazz standards dispatched simply and directly, with very little fuss and a great deal of warmth.
The prosecution's case relied heavily on testimony from Rachelle Bond, 41, who pleaded guilty pre-trial to being an accessory after the fact to murder and theft of over $250 by false pretense.
Russ Kembel, Redmond Start a new league Seattle will never get an NBA franchise while the current NBA is led by the same people who allowed the Sonics to be bought under false pretenses, hire an inept coach and cause the fans to lose interest.
Last week, the U.S. Wheat Associates warned that a restriction on steel imports may lead countries to use the same national-security pretense on U.S. wheat farmers.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretense.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of pretense
Middle English, probably modification of Medieval Latin pretensio, irregular from Latin praetendere
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
PRETENSE Defined for English Language Learners
PRETENSE Defined for Kids
Definition of pretense for Students
1 : an act or appearance that looks real but is false He made a pretense of studying.
2 : an effort to reach a certain condition or quality His report makes no pretense at completeness.
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