Definition of pretence noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    (British English) (North American English pretense) noun
    BrE BrE//prɪˈtens//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpriːtens//
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  1. 1[uncountable, singular] the act of behaving in a particular way, in order to make other people believe something that is not true Their friendliness was only pretence. pretence of doing something By the end of the evening she had abandoned all pretence of being interested. pretence of something He made no pretence of great musical knowledge. pretence that… She was unable to keep up the pretence that she loved him.
  2. 2[uncountable, countable, usually singular] (formal or literary) a claim that you have a particular quality or skill pretence (to something) a woman with some pretence to beauty pretence (to doing something) I make no pretence to being an expert on the subject.
  3. Word Originlate Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French pretense, based on medieval Latin pretensus ‘pretended’, alteration of Latin praetentus, from the verb praetendere ‘stretch forth, claim’, from prae ‘before’ + tendere ‘stretch’.Extra examples He was accused of obtaining money under false pretences. He was hanged without even the pretence of a proper trial. His pretence at friendliness fooled no one. I don’t know how long I can keep up this pretence of happiness. I make no pretence to be an expert on the subject. It was all an elaborate pretence. Now that the pretence was over, he could tell them what he really thought. She abandoned all pretence of neutrality and began to cheer. There is not even the slightest pretence of trying to make it realistic.Idioms
    by/under/on false pretences
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    by pretending to be something that you are not, in order to gain some advantage for yourself She was accused of obtaining money under false pretences.