pretext

noun pre·text \ ˈprē-ˌtekst \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

Definition of pretext

:a purpose or motive alleged or an appearance assumed in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs

Examples of pretext in a Sentence

  1. She went back to her friend's house on the pretext that she had forgotten her purse.

Recent Examples of pretext from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretext.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pretext

Latin praetextus, from praetexere to assign as a pretext, screen, extend in front, from prae- + texere to weave — more at technical

Synonym Discussion of pretext

apology, apologia, excuse, plea, pretext, alibi mean matter offered in explanation or defense. apology usually applies to an expression of regret for a mistake or wrong with implied admission of guilt or fault and with or without reference to mitigating or extenuating circumstances.
    • said by way of apology that he would have met them if he could
apologia implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position.
    • his speech was an apologia for his foreign policy
excuse implies an intent to avoid or remove blame or censure.
    • used illness as an excuse for missing the meeting
plea stresses argument or appeal for understanding or sympathy or mercy.
    • her usual plea that she was nearsighted
pretext suggests subterfuge and the offering of false reasons or motives in excuse or explanation.
    • used any pretext to get out of work
alibi implies a desire to shift blame or evade punishment and imputes mere plausibility to the explanation.
    • his alibi failed to stand scrutiny


PRETEXT Defined for English Language Learners

pretext

noun

Definition of pretext for English Language Learners

  • : a reason that you give to hide your real reason for doing something



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