pretension

noun
pre·​ten·​sion | \ pri-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce pretension (audio) \

Definition of pretension

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an allegation of doubtful value : pretext
2 : a claim or an effort to establish a claim
3 : a claim or right to attention or honor because of merit
4 : an aspiration or intention that may or may not reach fulfillment has serious literary pretensions

pretension

verb
pre·​ten·​sion | \ ˌprē-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce pretension (audio) \
pretensioned; pretensioning; pretensions

Definition of pretension (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from pretension

Noun

pretensionless \ pri-​ˈten(t)-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce pretensionless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for pretension

Synonyms: Noun

call, claim, dibs, pretense (or pretence), right

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Choose the Right Synonym for pretension

Noun

ambition, aspiration, pretension mean strong desire for advancement. ambition applies to the desire for personal advancement or preferment and may suggest equally a praiseworthy or an inordinate desire. driven by ambition aspiration implies a striving after something higher than oneself. an aspiration to become president someday pretension suggests ardent desire for recognition of accomplishment often without actual possession of the necessary ability and therefore may imply presumption. has literary pretensions

Examples of pretension in a Sentence

Noun

He spoke about his achievements without pretension. I admire his honesty and lack of pretension. The restaurant offers excellent food without pretension.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Here was a poet of the people for the people, without pretension or pomp, who wrote verse that captured everyday speech, both its fluency and its clank. The New York Review of Books, "Brenda Wineapple," 18 Apr. 2019 Wearing shades sans-sun used to scream pretension or pink eye. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "What Bella Hadid, Miley Cyrus and Rihanna Wore This Week," 31 May 2019 And yet, in spite of (or perhaps because of) its lack of pretension and insider-y vibe, the brand racked up top-tier stockists including Mr. Porter, Ssense, and Kith, and now enjoys a cult following around the world, particularly in Japan. Emily Farra, Vogue, "How Aimé Leon Dore Became the Coolest Store in Nolita," 14 May 2019 Related Yet the show floated along on its own lack of pretension. Ben Fritz, WSJ, "What the Golden Globes Gets Right," 7 Jan. 2019 No pretensions here—get ready to eat with your hands! Audrey Phoon, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Best Day Trips from Singapore," 5 Mar. 2018 Low range used to be common but these days it's relegated to pickup trucks and SUVs that have serious off-road pretensions. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use Your 4WD System," 5 Dec. 2018 There isn’t an ounce of pretension in this new incarnation. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "A Clear-Eyed Assessment of the New Four Seasons—By Someone Who Loved the Old One," 7 Sep. 2018 England, devoid of pretension and ego, seemed open and friendly, unexpectedly likable and — most shockingly of all — actually quite good at soccer. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1936, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pretension

Verb

pre- + tension entry 2

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Learn More about pretension

Statistics for pretension

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pretension

The first known use of pretension was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for pretension

pretension

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pretension

formal
: the unpleasant quality of people who think of themselves as more impressive, successful, or important than they really are
: a desire to do something or a claim to be something that is impressive or important

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Comments on pretension

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something desired as essential

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