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[pri-ten-did] /prɪˈtɛn dɪd/
insincerely or falsely professed:
a pretended interest in art.
feigned, fictitious, or counterfeit:
His pretended wealth was proved to be nonexistent.
alleged or asserted; reputed.
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English; see pretend, -ed2
Related forms
pretendedly, adverb
self-pretended, adjective
unpretended, adjective


[pri-tend] /prɪˈtɛnd/
verb (used with object)
to cause or attempt to cause (what is not so) to seem so:
to pretend illness; to pretend that nothing is wrong.
to appear falsely, as to deceive; feign:
to pretend to go to sleep.
to make believe:
The children pretended to be cowboys.
to presume; venture:
I can't pretend to say what went wrong.
to allege or profess, especially insincerely or falsely:
He pretended to have no knowledge of her whereabouts.
verb (used without object)
to make believe.
to lay claim to (usually followed by to):
She pretended to the throne.
to make pretensions (usually followed by to):
He pretends to great knowledge.
Obsolete. to aspire, as a suitor or candidate (followed by to).
Informal. make-believe; simulated; counterfeit:
pretend diamonds.
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)
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for pretended
  • And yet, you have pretended that your uninformed opinions are to be carefully considered.
  • They've pretended that autism is a genetic disorder kids are born with.
  • Others sang songs, or repeatedly tied their shoelaces, or pretended to take a nap.
  • Nearly everyone pretended not to notice how badly it fit.
  • He pretended there was no industrial logic to the takeover plan.
  • But the theory wasn't as good as the model-builders pretended.
  • The rest were either brainwashed or, as he said, pretended to be.
  • The king is pretended to be the custodian of the religion to maintain their political and personal interests.
  • He's right about that but only diplomats pretended any of that kind of talk was true.
  • Or who fretted-or, still worse, pretended not to fret-about their teaching evaluations.
British Dictionary definitions for pretended


(when transitive, usually takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to claim or allege (something untrue)
(transitive; may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to make believe, as in a play you pretend to be Ophelia
(intransitive) foll by to. to present a claim, esp a dubious one to pretend to the throne
(obsolete) (intransitive) foll by to. to aspire as a candidate or suitor (for)
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 pretended
c.1380, "to profess or claim," from O.Fr. pretendre "to lay claim," from L. prætendere "stretch in front, put forward, allege," from præ- "before" + tendere "to stretch," from PIE base *ten- "to stretch" (see tend). Main modern sense of "feign, put forward a false claim" is recorded from 1412; the older sense of simply "to claim" is behind the string of royal pretenders (1697) in Eng. history. Meaning "to play, make believe" is recorded from 1865.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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