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pretend

[pri-tend] /prɪˈtɛnd/
verb (used with object)
1.
to cause or attempt to cause (what is not so) to seem so:
to pretend illness; to pretend that nothing is wrong.
2.
to appear falsely, as to deceive; feign:
to pretend to go to sleep.
3.
to make believe:
The children pretended to be cowboys.
4.
to presume; venture:
I can't pretend to say what went wrong.
5.
to allege or profess, especially insincerely or falsely:
He pretended to have no knowledge of her whereabouts.
verb (used without object)
6.
to make believe.
7.
to lay claim to (usually followed by to):
She pretended to the throne.
8.
to make pretensions (usually followed by to):
He pretends to great knowledge.
9.
Obsolete. to aspire, as a suitor or candidate (followed by to).
adjective
10.
Informal. make-believe; simulated; counterfeit:
pretend diamonds.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English pretenden < Latin praetendere to stretch forth, put forward, pretend. See pre-, tend1
Can be confused
portend, pretend (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
1. simulate, fake, sham, counterfeit. Pretend, affect, assume, feign imply an attempt to create a false appearance. To pretend is to create an imaginary characteristic or to play a part: to pretend sorrow. To affect is to make a consciously artificial show of having qualities that one thinks would look well and impress others: to affect shyness. To assume is to take on or put on a specific outward appearance, often (but not always) with intent to deceive: to assume an air of indifference. To feign implies using ingenuity in pretense, and some degree of imitation of appearance or characteristics: to feign surprise.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for pretend
  • Fake crying and pretend laughing are among the earliest.
  • He definitely engages in pretend play, but he likes to be clear and explicit about when he's pretending and when he isn't.
  • To become truly civilized meant to escape the barn and pretend that excrement was not a part of life-flush it and forget it.
  • Found mixed feelings among teachers toward pretend play.
  • One must maintain one's cool when toddlers pretend a bowl of cereal is a tom-tom.
  • Professors pretend to teach, students pretend to learn.
  • Government ministers often pretend to do their best to prevent it.
  • Ask students to pretend that they are going away to live on an island for a month.
  • The global economy is now so large that society can no longer safely pretend it operates within a limitless ecosystem.
  • Anyone can use their imagination to make up pretend creatures.
British Dictionary definitions for pretend

pretend

/prɪˈtɛnd/
verb
1.
(when transitive, usually takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to claim or allege (something untrue)
2.
(transitive; may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to make believe, as in a play you pretend to be Ophelia
3.
(intransitive) foll by to. to present a claim, esp a dubious one to pretend to the throne
4.
(obsolete) (intransitive) foll by to. to aspire as a candidate or suitor (for)
adjective
5.
fanciful; make-believe; simulated a pretend gun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin praetendere to stretch forth, feign, from prae in front + tendere to stretch
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 pretend
v.

late 14c., "to profess, assert, maintain" (a claim, etc.), "to direct (one's) efforts," from Old French pretendre "to lay claim," from Latin praetendere "stretch in front, put forward, allege," from prae "before" (see pre-) + tendere "to stretch," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch" (see tend).

Main modern sense of "feign, put forward a false claim" is recorded from c.1400; the older sense of simply "to claim" is behind the string of royal pretenders (1690s) in English history. Meaning "to play, make believe" is recorded from 1865. In 17c. pretend also could mean "make a suit of marriage for," from a sense in French. Related: Pretended; pretending.

n.

"fact of pretending," 1888, from children's talk, from pretend (v.). Earlier in same sense was verbal noun pretending (1640s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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