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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.
Origin of pretended
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web 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

mid-15c., "so-called," past participle adjective from 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.


"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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