What does pretend mean?

Definitions for pretend

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word pretend.

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"


  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

  8. Origin: [OE. pretenden to lay claim to, F. prtendre, L. praetendere, praetentum, to stretch forward, pretend, simulate, assert; prae before + tendere to stretch. See Tend, v. t. ]


  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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Pretend

    prē-tend′, v.t. to hold out as a cloak for something else: to lay claim to: to attempt, undertake: to offer as true something that is not so: to affect to feel: (obs.) to offer, present.—v.i. to put in a claim: to make-believe.—ns. Pretence′, something pretended: appearance or show to hide reality: false show or reason: pretext: assumption: claim; Preten′dant, -ent, a pretender.—adjs. Preten′ded, Preten′sed, ostensible, assumed.—adv. Preten′dedly.—ns. Preten′der; Preten′dership.—adv. Preten′dingly.—n. Preten′sion, act of pretending: something pretended: false or fictitious appearance: claim either true or false.—adj. Preten′tious, marked by or containing pretence: claiming more than is warranted: presumptuous: arrogant.—adv. Preten′tiously, in a pretentious manner.—n. Preten′tiousness, the quality of being pretentious. [Fr. prétendre—L. prætendĕrepræ, before, tendĕre, tentum, tensum, to stretch.]

Editors Contribution

  1. pretend

    An act of the imagination of a young child who is playing with their toy or playing dress up.

    Children love to pretend as they play with their toys or dress up.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 6, 2017  

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

How to pronounce pretend?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say pretend in sign language?

  1. pretend


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of pretend in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of pretend in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of pretend in a Sentence

  1. Johnny Depp:

    I don't pretend to be captain weird. I just do what I do.

  2. Leslie Miklosy:

    If you pretend to be you, you will inevitably be unmasked.

  3. Athena Athena:

    My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them

  4. Sacha Guitry:

    You can pretend to be serious you can't pretend to be witty.

  5. Chris Parnham:

    I can't pretend I'm a shrinking violet, i enjoy the attention.

Images & Illustrations of pretend

  1. pretendpretendpretendpretendpretend

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for pretend

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"pretend." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 13 Dec. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/pretend>.

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