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pretence

[pri-tens, pree-tens] /prɪˈtɛns, ˈpri tɛns/
noun, Chiefly British
1.

pretense

or (especially British) pretence

[pri-tens, pree-tens] /prɪˈtɛns, ˈpri tɛns/
noun
1.
pretending or feigning; make-believe:
My sleepiness was all pretense.
2.
a false show of something:
a pretense of friendship.
3.
a piece of make-believe.
4.
the act of pretending or alleging falsely.
5.
a false allegation or justification:
He excused himself from the lunch on a pretense of urgent business.
6.
insincere or false profession:
His pious words were mere pretense.
7.
the putting forth of an unwarranted claim.
8.
the claim itself.
9.
any allegation or claim:
to obtain money under false pretenses.
10.
pretension (usually followed by to):
destitute of any pretense to wit.
Origin of pretense
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin *praetēnsa, noun use of feminine of praetēnsus, past participle (replacing Latin praetentus) of praetendere to pretend
Related forms
pretenseful, adjective
pretenseless, adjective
Can be confused
pretense, pretext.
Synonyms
1. shamming. 2. semblance. 3. mask, veil.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pretence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Like the famous A-tu-ma-shi monastery, these made no pretence of being in Burmese style, and were grievous to the sthetic eye.

    A Civil Servant in Burma Herbert Thirkel White
  • Only three of them she knew made any pretence of earning their living.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • This was a pure slander, absolutely without foundation, and not supported by even the pretence of proof.

    Gouverneur Morris Theodore Roosevelt
  • Only, the cruelty must be whitewashed by a moral excuse, and a pretence of reluctance.

  • The pretence of being mortally disabled was an old one with his people, as many a white man has learned when too late.

    The Young Ranchers Edward S. Ellis
British Dictionary definitions for pretence

pretence

/prɪˈtɛns/
noun
1.
the act of pretending
2.
a false display; affectation
3.
a claim, esp a false one, to a right, title, or distinction
4.
make-believe or feigning
5.
a false claim or allegation; pretext
6.
a less common word for pretension (sense 3)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pretence

pretense

n.

also pretence, early 15c., "the putting forth of a claim," from Anglo-French pretensse, Middle French pretensse (Modern French prétense), from Medieval Latin noun use of fem. of Late Latin praetensus, altered from Latin praetentus, past participle of praetendere (see pretend). Meaning "false or hypocritical profession" is from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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