Definition of pretend verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    pretend

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//prɪˈtend//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//prɪˈtend//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they pretend
    BrE BrE//prɪˈtend//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//prɪˈtend//
     
    he / she / it pretends
    BrE BrE//prɪˈtendz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//prɪˈtendz//
     
    past simple pretended
    BrE BrE//prɪˈtendɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//prɪˈtendɪd//
     
    past participle pretended
    BrE BrE//prɪˈtendɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//prɪˈtendɪd//
     
    -ing form pretending
    BrE BrE//prɪˈtendɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//prɪˈtendɪŋ//
     
    Dishonest
     
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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. See related entries: Dishonest
  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. More Like This Verbs usually followed by infinitives afford, agree, appear, arrange, attempt, beg, choose, consent, decide, expect, fail, happen, hesitate, hope, intend, learn, manage, mean, neglect, offer, prepare, pretend, promise, refuse, swear, try, want, wishSee worksheet.
  4. Word Origin late Middle English: from Latin praetendere ‘stretch forth, claim’, from prae ‘before’ + tendere ‘stretch’. The adjective dates from the early 20th cent.Extra examples Couldn’t you at least pretend to enjoy it? He pretended to his boss that he’d written the article. I can’t go on pretending any longer. It would be foolish to pretend that there are no risks involved. It’s useless to pretend that we might still win. Let’s pretend it never happened. Maria knew he was only pretending. They decided to just pretend it never happened. You know what this is all about, Natasha. Why pretend otherwise? I’m tired of having to pretend all the time. Let’s pretend (that) we’re astronauts. Of course it was wrong; it would be hypocriticial to pretend otherwise. They didn’t have any real money so they had to pretend. Why hurt her by pretending an interest he did not feel?
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pretend

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