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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.
adj. Informal
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 Indo-European roots.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.pretending - the act of giving a false appearancepretending - the act of giving a false appearance; "his conformity was only pretending"
dissimulation, deception, dissembling, deceit - the act of deceiving
show, appearance - pretending that something is the case in order to make a good impression; "they try to keep up appearances"; "that ceremony is just for show"
pretend, make-believe - the enactment of a pretense; "it was just pretend"
affectation, affectedness, mannerism, pose - a deliberate pretense or exaggerated display
masquerade - making a false outward show; "a beggar's masquerade of wealth"
References in classic literature ?
"Well, Sir Minister!" said one of the knaves, still pretending to work.
Kitty sat very demurely on her knee, pretending to watch the progress of the winding, and now and then putting out one paw and gently touching the ball, as if it would be glad to help, if it might.
What that you say?' (pretending that the kitten was speaking.) 'Her paw went into your eye?
Pretending to read a smeary newspaper long out of date, which had nothing half so legible in its local news, as the foreign matter of coffee, pickles, fish-sauces, gravy, melted butter, and wine, with which it was sprinkled all over, as if it had taken the measles in a highly irregular form, I sat at my table while he stood before the fire.
"Long enough to be tired of it," returned Drummle, pretending to yawn, but equally determined.
But when a creature pretending to reason could be capable of such enormities, he dreaded lest the corruption of that faculty might be worse than brutality itself.
The Frenchman was asleep, or pretending to be asleep, with his head on the back of his chair, and his moist hand, as it lay on his knee, made faint movements, as though trying to catch something.
When they think you are not looking they skip along pretty lively, but if you look and they fear there is no time to hide, they stand quite still, pretending to be flowers.
There were fields in which he could play his pretending games, and there was a beautiful house called Gad's Hill near, at which he could go to look and dream that if he were very good and very clever he might some day be a fine gentleman and own that house.
He felt that he was forgotten and neglected by every one, and that never never more would he be able to read books and play pretending games, or do anything that he loved.
'O, what a pretending old thing Miss Twinkleton is, my dear!'
Lavrushka noticed this and to entertain him further, pretending not to know who Napoleon was, added: