[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.