Synonyms of pretend

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 to take on a false or deceptive appearance
  • I pretended that I didn't care that my ex had a new man in her life

Synonyms for pretend

Words Related to pretend

Phrases Synonymous with pretend

2 to present a false appearance of
  • as if I would ever pretend illness just to take off a day from work

Synonyms for pretend

Words Related to pretend

Phrases Synonymous with pretend



Synonyms & Antonyms of pretend (Entry 2 of 2)

1 being such in appearance only and made with or manufactured from usually cheaper materials
  • if you were to see the movie's pretend jewels in real life, you wouldn't be fooled for a minute

Synonyms for pretend

Words Related to pretend

Near Antonyms for pretend

Antonyms for pretend

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Frequently Asked Questions About pretend

How does the verb pretend contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of pretend are affect, assume, counterfeit, feign, sham, and simulate. While all these words mean "to put on a false or deceptive appearance," pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance.

pretended that nothing had happened

Where would affect be a reasonable alternative to pretend?

In some situations, the words affect and pretend are roughly equivalent. However, affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling.

affected an interest in art

When might assume be a better fit than pretend?

Although the words assume and pretend have much in common, assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive.

assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients

In what contexts can counterfeit take the place of pretend?

The meanings of counterfeit and pretend largely overlap; however, counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words.

an actor counterfeiting drunkenness

How does the word feign relate to other synonyms for pretend?

Feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate.

feigned sickness

When is sham a more appropriate choice than pretend?

The words sham and pretend can be used in similar contexts, but sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible.

shammed a most unconvincing limp

When can simulate be used instead of pretend?

While in some cases nearly identical to pretend, simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something.

cosmetics that simulate a suntan

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Time Traveler for pretend

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Pretend.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pretend

Nglish: Translation of pretend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pretend for Arabic Speakers


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