pretend - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participlepretending
past tensepretended
past participlepretended
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to behave in a particular way because you want someone to believe that something is true when it is not

    We were never going to make the marriage work, so why pretend?

    pretend to do something:

    She closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep.

    pretend (that):

    I’m sorry, but I can’t just sit back and pretend it hasn’t happened.

    pretend otherwise (=pretend that something is not true):

    I know you hate my haircut, so it’s no good pretending otherwise.

    pretend something:

    It was useless to pretend innocence.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to imagine that something is true when you are playing a game
    pretend (that):

    They’re pretending they’re astronauts again.

    pretend to be someone/something:

    The little girl was pretending to be a lion.

  3. 3
    [transitive] [usually in negatives] to claim that something is true when it is not
    pretend (that):

    I’m not going to pretend we achieved a lot.

    pretend to do something:

    I don’t pretend to have all the answers.

    pretend to something:

    He’s never pretended to any great knowledge of art.