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



    BrE BrE//prɪˈtenʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//prɪˈtenʃn//
    [countable, usually plural, uncountable]
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  1. 1the act of trying to appear more important, intelligent, etc. than you are in order to impress other people intellectual pretensions The play mocks the pretensions of the new middle class. He spoke without pretension. She was a bored housewife with social pretensions. She was charmed by his lack of pretension.
  2. 2a claim to be or to do something pretension (to something/to doing something) a building with no pretensions to architectural merit pretension (to do something) The movie makes no pretension to reproduce life.
  3. Word Originlate Middle English: from medieval Latin praetensio(n-), from praetens- ‘alleged’, from the verb praetendere ‘stretch forth, claim’, from prae ‘before’ + tendere ‘stretch’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pretension