What does pretence mean?

Definitions for pretence

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word pretence.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. pretension, pretense, pretencenoun

    a false or unsupportable quality

  2. guise, pretense, pretence, pretextnoun

    an artful or simulated semblance

    "under the guise of friendship he betrayed them"

  3. pretense, pretence, feigning, dissemblingnoun

    pretending with intention to deceive

  4. pretense, pretence, make-believenoun

    imaginative intellectual play

  5. pretense, pretence, pretending, simulation, feigningnoun

    the act of giving a false appearance

    "his conformity was only pretending"


  1. pretencenoun

    An act of pretending or pretension; a false claim or pretext.

  2. Etymology: From pretensse, from praetensus (past participle of praetendere, prae- + tendere).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Pretencenoun

    Etymology: prætensus, Lat.

    This pretence against religion will not only be baffled, but we shall gain a new argument to persuade men over. John Tillotson.

    With flying speed and seeming great pretence
    Came running in a messenger. Fairy Queen.

    So strong his appetite was to those executions he had been accustom’d to in Ireland, without any kind of commission or pretence of authority. Edward Hyde.

    O worthy not of liberty alone,
    Too mean pretence, but honour. Philip Miller.

    Let not the Trojans, with a feign’d pretence
    Of proffer’d peace, delude the Latian prince. Dryden.

    I should have dressed the whole with greater care; but I had little time, which I am sure you know to be more than pretence. William Wake, Preparation for Death.

    Despise not these few ensuing pages; for never was any thing of this pretence more ingenuously imparted. John Evelyn.

    Spirits in our just pretences arm’d
    Fell with us. John Milton.

    Primogeniture cannot have any pretence to a right of solely inheriting property or power. John Locke.

    I have conceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as my own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness. William Shakespeare.

    In the great hand of God I stand, and thence
    Against the undivulg’d pretence I fight
    Of treas’nous malice. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    He hath writ this to feel my affection for your honour, and to no other pretence of danger. William Shakespeare, King Lear.


  1. pretence

    Pretence is an act of pretending or making something appear to be true when it is not. It often refers to a claim or assertion that is false or an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true, often done in order to deceive or mislead others. It can also refer to the act of behaving in a certain way in order to make others believe something.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Pretenceadjective

    alt. of Pretenceless

  2. Pretencenoun

    the act of laying claim; the claim laid; assumption; pretension

  3. Pretencenoun

    the act of holding out, or offering, to others something false or feigned; presentation of what is deceptive or hypocritical; deception by showing what is unreal and concealing what is real; false show; simulation; as, pretense of illness; under pretense of patriotism; on pretense of revenging Caesar's death

  4. Pretencenoun

    that which is pretended; false, deceptive, or hypocritical show, argument, or reason; pretext; feint

  5. Pretencenoun

    intention; design

Suggested Resources

  1. Pretence

    Pretence vs. Pretense -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Pretence and Pretense.

How to pronounce pretence?

How to say pretence in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of pretence in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of pretence in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of pretence in a Sentence

  1. Jeroen Dijsselbloem:

    The six, those are just the first six. Those absolutely won't be accepted as the 30 percent that they wanted to replace, the Greeks know that too, by the way, they don't have any pretence that this is it.

  2. Aleister Crowley:

    The pious pretence that evil does not exist only makes it vague, enormous and menacing.

  3. Havelock Ellis:

    Jealousy: that Dragon which slays love under the pretence of keeping it alive.

  4. Rooma Mehra:

    People do not relate to softness anymore - in talk or under the guise of misunderstanding - they seem satisfied when they have proved to themselves that softness was feigned or blatant pretence and they were right in thinking hard and ugly thoughts of sarcasm, spite or other hurtful intentions

  5. Robert Frost:

    Friends make pretence of following to the grave but before one is in it, their minds are turned and making the best of their way back to life and living people and things they understand.

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Translations for pretence

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"pretence." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/pretence>.

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    cause to spread or flush or flood through, over, or across
    A abrade
    B aberrate
    C suffuse
    D lucubrate

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