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

In so doing, the Senate would end its undemocratic pretensions and resume its prescribed and limited role in the system of checks and balances. Daniel Wirls, The Conversation, "The Senate filibuster explained – and why it should be allowed to die," 13 Sep. 2019 Every once in a while, the hubris and pretension of undergraduate student theater leads to something great. Adam Green, Vogue, "Hamilton’s Thomas Kail Returns to His Improv Roots with Freestyle Love Supreme," 10 Sep. 2019 There is none of the self-consciousness or pretension that such fusions tend to have north of the Rio Grande. . Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Celso Piña, Mexican cumbia artist and ‘accordion rebel,’ dies at 66," 22 Aug. 2019 There is something refreshing about this willingness to subvert the pretensions of artistry. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "Ed Sheeran and Friends," 22 July 2019 But Toy Story 4 seems content with its Forkiness, and that lack of pretension is mostly an asset. Scott Tobias, The Verge, "Toy Story 4 lowers the stakes and ramps up the whimsy," 21 June 2019 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 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 Despite the hoax, this isn’t an Emperor’s New Clothes-like prank where Moulton satirizes the art world for its pretensions. Andrea Alonso, Los Angeles Magazine, "Fact and Fiction Collide Inside an Exhibit Inspired by a “Forgotten” L.A. Legend—and Beverly Hills Cop," 12 June 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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Statistics for pretension

Last Updated

21 Sep 2019

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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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