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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun pretense:

Video footage: 1952 girls are having pretense lunch in the yard while a boy sneakily draws red marks on the doll's face. (1950s)
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Definition of the noun pretense

What does pretense mean as a name of something?

noun - plural: pretenses

  1. the act of giving a false appearance
  2. pretending with intention to deceive
  3. imaginative intellectual play
  4. a false or unsupportable quality
    • lexical domain: Attributes - nouns denoting attributes of people and objects
    • synonyms of pretense: pretence / pretension
    • more generic word: artificiality = the quality of being produced by people and not occurring naturally
  5. an artful or simulated semblance

Alternative definition of the noun pretense


  1. [US] A false or hypocritical profession, as, under pretense of friendliness; sham, pretext, claim; an effort to give some appearance or mislead.

Definition of the noun pretense for high school students

    an appearance or action intended to deceive
    • example: Though he actually wanted to use his parents' car to go on a date, Nick borrowed his parents' car under the pretense of attending a group study session.

The noun pretense is considered to be a word that all college-aspiring students should know and understand, so it frequently appears on the SAT, ACT and other college admissions tests.


"Pretense" is a book by Lori Wick.

  • also known as "Pretense (Contemporary Romance)"
  • genres: Fiction, Romance novel
  • subject: Family

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Pretense

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewClinical Judgment: A Critical Appraisal (2012)

Proceedings of the Fifth Trans-Disciplinary Symposium on Philosophy and Medicine Held at Los Angeles, California, April 14–16, 1977 by H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr., S.F. Spicker, B. Towers

The pretense is that the law is a system of known rules applied by a judge; the pretense has long been under attack. In an important sense legal rules are never clear, and, if a rule had to be clear before it could be imposed, society would be ...

Google previewThe Legal Realism of Jerome N. Frank (2012)

A Study of Fact-Skepticism and the Judicial Process by Julius Paul

The pretense is that the law is a system of known rules applied by a judge; the pretense has long been under attack. In an important sense legal rules are never clear, and, if a rule had to be clear before it could be imposed, society would be ...

Google previewMaking a Necessity of Virtue (1997)

Aristotle and Kant on Virtue by Nancy Sherman

As Ronald de Sousa puts it, "earnest pretense is the royal road to sincere faith." 120 Sometimes we "pretend" through behavioral changes - through changes in facial expressions, body gestures, and vocalizations that evoke in us a changed ...

Google previewAccounting for Value (2011)

by Stephen Penman

The pretense is that there is something in nature to be discovered, a “true beta,” an observable risk premium, so that the investigation can proceed in the way it does in the natural sciences. This is not so. The question “What is the market risk ...

Google previewCaregiving Daughters (2014)

Accepting the Role of Caregiver for Elderly Parents by Rick Briggs

Pretense is a behavior unknown to these people or discarded by them. Whether this is an Appalachian trait or a perspective developed over years of caring for a hard-to-manage Alzheimer's patient, there seemed to be an attitude that said.

Google previewA Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents (Complete) (1905)

by James Daniel Richardson, United States Presidents

And yet the pretense is that there are no highlands but this detached spur, Mars Hill! Still further, the highest position surveyed is nearly 50 miles short of the Melis , which falls into the St. Lawrence, and we do not perceive that the elevations ...

Google previewKabbalah: A Guide for the Perplexed (2011)

by Pinchas Giller

Although the Zohar's central pretense is that it is a Tannaitic midrash, its rambling , lengthy form and idiosyncratic Aramaic are unlike any other rabbinic creation. The Zohar is not a single work, but a collection of some two-dozen separate ...

Google previewUnited Editors Encyclopedia and Dictionary (1907)

A Library of Universal Knowledge and an Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language ...

PRETENSE'LESS, a., or PRETENCE LESS, a. -lès, not having or making pretenses. PRETEN'sión, n. -ten'shan [F. prétention]; a claim, true or false; a holding out the appearance of right or possession; right alleged or assumed; in OE, fictitious ...

Google previewConcise Encyclopedia of Insurance Terms (2010)

by Lawrence Silver, Robert E Stevens, Kenneth Clow

PRETENSE,. TRICK,. AND. DEVICE. Garage liability for automobile dealers excludes losses resulting from fraudulent acts committed by customers or potential customers. For example, suppose a customer goes to a dealership and wants to ...

Google previewThe American and English Encyclopaedia of Law (1908)

by David Shephard Garland, Lucius Polk McGehee, James Cockcroft

False Pretense of Past Fact Sufficient to Support Conviction. — Bates v. State, 124 Wis.

Google previewMerriam-Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms (1984)

by Merriam-Webster, Inc

birthright, privilege 2 Pretense, pretension, make-believe are comparable though seldom interchangeable when they involve the idea of offering something false or deceptive as real or true. Pretense may denote false show in general, or the ...

Google previewHistorical Dictionary of Hobbes's Philosophy (2011)

by Juhana Lemetti

The causes are discontent, pretense, and hope of success. The first arises “partly in fear of want of punishment” and “partly in ambition”; that is to say, if there is no sufficiently strong public system of coercion and sanctions, human beings may ...

Google previewReal-World Decision Making: An Encyclopedia of Behavioral Economics (2015)

An Encyclopedia of Behavioral Economics by Morris Altman

Pretense oF Knowledge See also: Hyperbolic Discounting; Impulsive Behavior; Intertemporal Preferences and Consumption; Obesity; Overconsumption; Preference Reversal; Self-Control Further Reading Hoch, Stephen J., and George ...

Google previewThe Virginia and West Virginia Judicial Dictionary-digest (1922)

Words and Phrases. Being a Compilation of All Words, Phrases and Maxims which Have Been Defined, Construed, Interpreted Or Applied in Virginia and West Virginia Cases and in the Codes of Those States, Combined with a Digest of Virginia and West Virginia Cases and Principles of Law as Therein Applied by Fred P. Caldwell

Goods were obtained by false pretense where they were obtained on the represention that they were needed for sale, to supply demand, and were at once pledged for loans at usurious rates. Fisher v. Lee, 98 Va. 159, 35 S. E. 441. The words ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Pretense

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Photos about Pretense

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If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Pressed and dried flower geranium pretense (cranesbill) on a stalk with green leaves. Isolated on white background. For use in scrapbooking, floristry (oshibana) or herbarium.Small photo of friends, people, hypocrisy and pretense concept - group of happy friends or students covering faces with own photosSmall photo of Trifolium pretense. Can be used as backgroundSmall photo of Red clover. Trifolium pretense. Flower red clover isolated on a white background. Trifolium pretense.Small photo of Pressed and dried flower geranium pretense (cranesbill). Isolated on white background. For use in scrapbooking, floristry (oshibana) or herbarium.Small photo of Woman or girl cover face with golden mask with long blond hair at window. Carnival, masquerade, masque party, holiday celebration. Decoration, amusement, protection, disguise, pretense concept.Small photo of Girl and man hide face with masque. Woman with long blond hair and bearded hipster in mask at window. Carnival, masquerade, holiday celebration. Decoration, amusement, disguise, pretense concept. More...

Video about Pretense

Pretense Meaning

Video shows what pretense means. A false or hypocritical profession, as, under pretense of friendliness.. Intention or purpose not real but professed.

View more videos about False Pretense.

See also the pronunciation examples of Pretense!

Quotes about Pretense

Whenever A annoys or injures B on the pretense of saving or improving X, A is a scoundrel. (H.L. Mencken)
more quotes about pretense...

Scrabble value of P3R1E1T1E1N1S1E1

The value of this 8-letter word is 10 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of PRETENSE

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