From Anglo-Norman pretendre, Middle French pretendre (French prétendre (“to claim, demand”)), from Latin praetendere, present active infinitive of praetendō (“put forward, hold out, pretend”), from prae- (“pre-”) + tendō (“stretch”); see tend.
- IPA(key): /pɹɪˈtɛnd/
- Rhymes: -ɛnd
- Hyphenation: pre‧tend
pretend (third-person singular simple present pretends, present participle pretending, simple past and past participle pretended)
- To claim, to allege, especially when falsely or as a form of deliberate deception. [from 14th c.]
- 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, XVIII.23:
- "After what past at Upton, so soon to engage in a new amour with another woman, while I fancied, and you pretended, your heart was bleeding for me!"
1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, in The China Governess, OL 2004261W:
It's rather like a beautiful Inverness cloak one has inherited. Much too good to hide away, so one wears it instead of an overcoat and pretends it's an amusing new fashion.
- 2009 April 13, “Vanity publishing”, in The Economist:
- I have nothing but contempt for people who hire ghost-writers. But at least most faux authors have the decency to pretend that they are sweating blood over "their" book.
- To feign, affect (a state, quality, etc.). [from 15th c.]
- (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
- This let him know, / Lest, willfully transgressing, he pretend / Surprisal.
- 2007 October 29, The Guardian, London:
- Gap and other clothes manufacturers should stop using small subcontractors because they are difficult to control. Instead, they should open up their own fully-owned production facilities so that they cannot pretend ignorance when abuses are committed.
- To lay claim to (an ability, status, advantage, etc.). [from 15th c.] (originally used without to)
- (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
- Chiefs shall be grudged the part which they pretend.
- 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.25:
- People observed the diversity of schools and the acerbity of their disputes, and decided that all alike were pretending to knowledge which was in fact unattainable.
- To make oneself appear to do or be doing something; to engage in make-believe.
1814 July, [Jane Austen], chapter VI, in Mansfield Park: A Novel. In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for T[homas] Egerton, […], OCLC 39810224, pages 111–112:
"The truth is, Ma'am," said Mrs. Grant, pretending to whisper across the table to Mrs. Norris, "that Dr. Grant hardly knows what the natural taste of our apricot is; […]."
- 2003 January 23, Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, London:
- Luster claimed that the women had consented to sex and were only pretending to be asleep.
- (transitive, obsolete) To hold before, or put forward, as a cloak or disguise for something else; to exhibit as a veil for something hidden.
- (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
- Lest that too heavenly form, pretended / To hellish falsehood, snare them.
- (transitive, obsolete) To intend; to design, to plot; to attempt.
- (transitive, obsolete) To hold before one; to extend.
- 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.11:
- Pastorella […] Was by the Captaine all this while defended, / Who, minding more her safety then himselfe, / His target alwayes over her pretended […].
This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs
to allege falsely
- Arabic: اِدَّعَى (iddaʿā), زَعَمَ (ar) (zaʿama)
- Catalan: fingir (ca), fer veure
- Mandarin: 假裝 (zh), 假装 (zh) (jiǎzhuāng), 佯裝 (zh), 佯装 (zh) (yángzhuāng)
- Czech: předstírat (cs)
- Danish: foregive
- Dutch: voorwenden (nl), doen alsof, veinzen (nl), pretenderen (nl)
- Esperanto: hipokriti
- Finnish: teeskennellä (fi)
- French: prétendre (fr)
- Galician: finxir
- German: vorgeben (de), prätendieren (de), vortäuschen (de)
- Italian: fingere (it)
- Japanese: ...の振りをする (...のふりをする, ...no-furi-o suru), 見せ掛ける (みせかける, misekakeru), 装う (ja) (よそおう, yosōu)
- Korean: -인 체하다 (ko) (in chehada)
- Latin: simulo, fingo
- Malay: berlagak, berpura-pura
- Polish: udawać (pl)
- Portuguese: fingir (pt)
- Romanian: preface (ro), pretinde (ro)
- Russian: де́лать вид (ru) impf (délatʹ vid), сде́лать вид impf (sdélatʹ vid); притворя́ться (ru) impf (pritvorjátʹsja), притвори́ться (ru) pf (pritvorítʹsja)
- Scottish Gaelic: leig air
- Spanish: fingir (es)
- Swedish: låtsas (sv)
- Ukrainian: удавати (udaváty), вдавати (vdaváty)
to make oneself appear to do something
pretend (not comparable)
- Not really what it is represented as being; imaginary, feigned.
- As children we used to go on "spying" missions around the neighbour's house, but it was all pretend.