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
NO SMALL IRONY that a man who enjoys White Center for its lack of pretense and its plethora of divine taco trucks is the same guy who spearheaded its gentrification.
It's no small irony that a man who enjoys White Center for its lack of pretense and its plethora of divine taco trucks is the same guy who spearheaded its gentrification.
Court records show misdemeanor convictions in 2015 for prescription-drug possession and at least two pending charges: an arrest last year for obtaining money under false pretenses and a January charge for shoplifting.
After missing a stretch of about eight days at work in April 2016, the manager ended up firing him under the false pretense of poor work performance, the suit claims.
The annual Billboard Music Awards carry little of the pretense of other award shows.
Those warhorses carry on the pretense of caring about meat.
Both the Corvette and Volt could be considered niche products — one a sports car, one a plug-in hybrid with a 40-mile range and absolutely no sporting pretenses.
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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