pretence

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French pretensse, from Late Latin praetensus (prætensus) (past participle of praetendere (prætendere), prae- (præ-) + tendere).

Noun[edit]

pretence (plural pretences)

  1. (British) An act of pretending or pretension; a false claim or pretext.
    • 1819, Oliver Goldsmith, Charles Coote, The History of England, from the Earliest Times to the Death of George the Second, Volume 3, page 115,
      Great armaments were therefore put on foot in Moravia and Bohemia, while the elector of Saxony, under a pretence of military parade, drew together about sixteen thousand men, which were posted in a strong situation at Pima.
    • 1995, Charlie Lewis, Peter Mitchell, Children′s Early Understanding Of Mind: Origins And Development, page 281,
      In pilot work we have used the method described in Experiment 2 on children′s memory for the content of their own false beliefs and pretence and asked them to differentiate between belief and pretence.
    • 2005, Plato, Lesley Brown (translator), Sophist, 231b.
      That part of education that turned up in the latest phase of our argument, the cross-examination of the empty pretence of wisdom, is none other, we must declare, than the true-blooded kind of sophistry.
  2. (obsolete) Intention; design.
    • Shakespeare
      A very pretence and purpose of unkindness.

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