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Alternative forms[edit]


Deverbal from make believe.


make-believe (countable and uncountable, plural make-believes) (sometimes childish)

  1. (uncountable) The quality or act of pretending; acting as if something is true when in fact one knows it is not.
  2. (uncountable) The condition of pretending or imagining that things are better than they really are.
  3. (countable) Something imaginary.
    • 1897, Richard Marsh, The Beetle:
      ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Marjorie Lindon, to even think such nonsense. Are you all nerves and morbid imaginings,—you who have prided yourself on being so strong-minded! A pretty sort you are to do battle for anyone.—Why, they’re only make-believes!’