v. pre·tend·ed, pre·tend·ing, pre·tends
1. To give a false appearance of; feign: "You had to pretend conformity while privately pursuing high and dangerous nonconformism" (Anthony Burgess).
2. To claim or allege insincerely or falsely: doesn't pretend to be an expert.
3. To represent fictitiously in play; make believe: pretended they were on a cruise.
4. To take upon oneself; venture: I cannot pretend to say that you are wrong.
1. To feign an action or character, as in play.
2. To lay claim: pretends to gourmet tastes.
Imitation; make-believe: pretend money; pretend pearls.
[Middle English pretenden, from Old French pretendre, from Latin praetendere : prae-, pre- + tendere, to extend; see ten- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus