English

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

 

pretext

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈpriːtekst//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈpriːtekst//
 
 
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pretext (for something/for doing something) | pretext (to do something) a false reason that you give for doing something, usually something bad, in order to hide the real reason; an excuse The incident was used as a pretext for intervention in the area. He left the party early on the pretext of having work to do. Be careful not to give him a pretext to report you. People were being arrested on the flimsiest of pretexts. Synonymsreasonexplanation grounds basis excuse motive justification pretextThese are all words for a cause or an explanation for something that has happened or that somebody has done.reason a cause or an explanation for something that has happened or that somebody has done; a fact that makes it right or fair to do something:He said no but he didn’t give a reason.explanation a statement, fact or situation that tells you why something has happened; a reason given for something:The most likely explanation is that his plane was delayed. She left the room abruptly without explanation.grounds (rather formal) a good or true reason for saying, doing or believing something:You have no grounds for complaint.basis (rather formal) the reason why people take a particular action:On what basis will this decision be made?excuse a reason, either true or invented, that you give to explain or defend your behaviour; a good reason that you give for doing something that you want to do for other reasons:Late again! What’s your excuse this time? It gave me an excuse to take the car.motive a reason that explains somebody’s behaviour:There seemed to be no motive for the murder.justification (rather formal) a good reason why something exists or is done:I can see no possible justification for any further tax increases.grounds or justification?Justification is used to talk about finding or understanding reasons for actions, or trying to explain why it is a good idea to do something. It is often used with words like little, no, some, every, without, and not any. Grounds is used more for talking about reasons that already exist, or that have already been decided, for example by law: moral/​economic grounds.pretext (rather formal) a false reason that you give for doing something, usually something bad, in order to hide the real reason:He left the party early on the pretext of having to work.Patterns (a/​an) reason/​explanation/​grounds/​basis/​excuse/​motive/​justification/​pretext for something the reason/​motive behind something on the grounds/​basis/​pretext of/​that… (a) good/​valid reason/​explanation/​grounds/​excuse/​motive/​justification Word Origin early 16th cent.: from Latin praetextus ‘outward display’, from the verb praetexere ‘to disguise’, from prae ‘before’ + texere ‘weave’.Extra examples He disappeared into his study on the pretext that he had work to do there. He keeps popping into my office on the slightest pretext. He used his research as a pretext for going to Hungary. Several schools banned the game on flimsy pretexts. This was a false pretext to attack another country. Under the pretext of checking her identity, the man had copied down her credit card details.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pretext