Definitions for pretendprɪˈtɛnd

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word pretend

Random House Webster's College Dictionary


  1. to cause or attempt to cause (what is not so) to seem so; claim:

    pretending that nothing is wrong.

  2. to put forward a false appearance of, as to deceive; feign:

    to pretend illness.

  3. to make believe:

    The children pretended they were cowboys.

  4. to presume; venture:

    I can't pretend to say what went wrong.

  5. to allege or profess, esp. insincerely or falsely:

    He pretended to have no knowledge of her whereabouts.

  6. (v.i.)to make believe.

  7. to lay claim to (usu. fol. by to):

    to pretend to the throne.

  8. to make pretensions (usu. fol. by to):

    to pretend to great knowledge.

  9. Obs. to aspire, as a suitor or candidate (fol. by to).

  10. (adj.)make-believe; imaginary:

    pretend diamonds.

    Category: Common Vocabulary, Informal

* Syn: 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 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.

Origin of pretend:

1325–75; < L praetendere to stretch forth, put forward, pretend. See pre -, tend1

Princeton's WordNet

  1. make-believe, pretend(adj)

    the enactment of a pretense

    "it was just pretend"

  2. make-believe, pretend(verb)

    imagined as in a play

    "the make-believe world of theater"; "play money"; "dangling their legs in the water to catch pretend fish"

  3. feign, sham, pretend, affect, dissemble(verb)

    make believe with the intent to deceive

    "He feigned that he was ill"; "He shammed a headache"

  4. dissemble, pretend, act(verb)

    behave unnaturally or affectedly

    "She's just acting"

  5. pretend(verb)

    put forward a claim and assert right or possession of

    "pretend the title of King"

  6. guess, venture, pretend, hazard(verb)

    put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation

    "I am guessing that the price of real estate will rise again"; "I cannot pretend to say that you are wrong"

  7. make, pretend, make believe(verb)

    represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like

    "She makes like an actress"

  8. profess, pretend(verb)

    state insincerely

    "He professed innocence but later admitted his guilt"; "She pretended not to have known the suicide bomber"; "She pretends to be an expert on wine"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. pretend(verb)ɪˈtɛnd

    to say or do sth false in order to trick people

    She pretended that she hadn't seen the other girls.; websites pretending to advise you of problems with your bank account; to pretend innocence

  2. pretendɪˈtɛnd

    (of children) to play by imagining sth

    They pretended they were in outer space.; We don't need costumes, we can just pretend.

  3. pretend(adjective)ɪˈtɛnd

    imagined for fun

    kids driving pretend cars


  1. pretend(Verb)

    To claim, allege, especially when falsely or as a form of deliberate deception.

  2. pretend(Verb)

    To feign, affect (a state, quality etc.).

  3. pretend(Verb)

    To lay claim to (an ability, status, advantage etc.).

  4. pretend(Verb)

    To make oneself appear to do or be doing something; to engage in make-believe.

  5. Origin: From pretendre, pretendre (French prétendre), from praetendere, present active infinitive of praetendo, from prae- + tendo; see tend.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Pretend(verb)

    to lay a claim to; to allege a title to; to claim

  2. Pretend(verb)

    to hold before, or put forward, as a cloak or disguise for something else; to exhibit as a veil for something hidden

  3. Pretend(verb)

    to hold out, or represent, falsely; to put forward, or offer, as true or real (something untrue or unreal); to show hypocritically, or for the purpose of deceiving; to simulate; to feign; as, to pretend friendship

  4. Pretend(verb)

    to intend; to design; to plot; to attempt

  5. Pretend(verb)

    to hold before one; to extend

  6. Pretend(verb)

    to put in, or make, a claim, truly or falsely; to allege a title; to lay claim to, or strive after, something; -- usually with to

  7. Pretend(verb)

    to hold out the appearance of being, possessing, or performing; to profess; to make believe; to feign; to sham; as, to pretend to be asleep


  1. Pretend

    "Pretend" is a popular song, written in 1952 by Lew Douglas, Cliff Parman, and Frank Levere. The best-known recording, by Nat King Cole was released by Capitol Records as catalog number 2346. It first reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on January 31, 1953 and lasted 20 weeks on the chart, peaking at #3. Cole would later re-record the song for his 1961 album The Nat King Cole Story. The recording by Ralph Marterie was released by Mercury Records as catalog number 70045. It reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on February 7, 1953 at #16, its only week on the chart. The recording by Eileen Barton was released by Coral Records as catalog number 60927. It reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on March 7, 1953 at #18, its only week on the chart. On the Cash Box charts, where all versions of the song were combined, the song reached a peak of #5 in 1953. The song was subsequently recorded by Tab Smith, reaching #89 on the Billboard chart in 1957, and by Carl Mann, reaching #57 on Billboard and #56 on Cash Box in 1959. Alvin Stardust's cover version was a popular hit in the United Kingdom in 1981, when it reached number four in the UK singles chart. This cover was largely based on Carl Mann's 1959-version of this song.

British National Corpus

  1. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'pretend' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4246

  2. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'pretend' in Verbs Frequency: #597

Translations for pretend

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


to make believe that something is true, in play

Let's pretend that this room is a cave!; Pretend to be a lion!; He wasn't really angry; – he was only pretending.

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