American English

Definition of pretend verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they pretend
    he / she / it pretends
    past simple pretended
    -ing form pretending
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to behave in a particular way, in order to make other people believe something that is not true I'm tired of having to pretend all the time. Of course I was wrong; it would be hypocritical to pretend otherwise. pretend (to somebody) (that…) He pretended to his family that everything was fine. We pretended (that) nothing had happened. She pretended (that) she was his niece. pretend to do something I pretended to be asleep. He pretended not to notice. She didn't love him, though she pretended to. pretend something (formal) She pretended an interest she did not feel.
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] (especially of children) to imagine that something is true as part of a game They didn't have any real money so they had to pretend. pretend (that)… Let's pretend (that) we're astronauts.
  3. 3[intransitive, transitive] (usually used in negative sentences and questions) to claim to be, do, or have something, especially when this is not true pretend to something I can't pretend to any great musical talent. pretend (that)… I don't pretend (that) I know much about the subject, but… pretend to be/do/have something The book doesn't pretend to be a great work of literature.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: pretend

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