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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 For a comic novelist, such human pretension is a gift. Jay Fielden, New York Times, "What Do Mark Twain, Carpentry and Commodes Have in Common?," 13 June 2018 Ginza Iwa Ginza Iwa is high-end sushi without the pretension. Melinda Joe, Condé Nast Traveler, "22 Best Places for Sushi in Tokyo," 27 Feb. 2018 Still, there are dozens of newer krewes that have embraced diversity, and Gasparilla, despite its aristocratic origins and social pretensions, isn't exactly a redoubt of Tampa society—or a model of decorum. Vicky Ward, Town & Country, "The Bizarre Scandal That Brought Down General David Petraeus," 29 Nov. 2016

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pretension

Share pretension

Statistics for pretension

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pretension

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pretension

What made you want to look up pretension? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!