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pretext (plural pretexts)
- A false, contrived, or assumed purpose or reason; a pretense.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:pretext
- The reporter called the company on the pretext of trying to resolve a consumer complaint.
- 1598, Benjamin Jonson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Euery Man in His Hvmovr. […]”, in The Workes of Ben Jonson (First Folio), London: […] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, OCLC 960101342, Act II, scene i, page 21:
- [T]hey would ſay [...] that I had quarrell'd / My brother purpoſely, thereby to finde / An apt pretext, to baniſh them my houſe.
- 2012 May 27, Nathan Rabin, “The Simpsons (Classic): ‘New Kid on the Block’ [season 4, episode 8; originally aired 12 November 1992]”, in The A.V. Club, archived from the original on 18 September 2020:
- When that metaphor proves untenable, he switches to insisting that women are like beer but that’s mainly as a pretext to drink until he passes out in a father-son bonding haze.
false, contrived or assumed purpose
- To employ a pretext, which involves using a false or contrived purpose for soliciting the gain of something else.
- The spy obtained his phone records using possibly-illegal pretexting methods.
- 1903, Henry James, The Ambassadors:
- ... the something in the air of these establishments; the vibration of the vast, strange life of the town; the influence of the types, the performers, concocting their messages; the little prompt Paris women arranging, pretexting goodness knew what, driving the dreadful needle-pointed public pen at the dreadful sand-strewn public table....
- blag (UK)
employ a pretext