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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 Humour. A Comœdie. […]”, 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.
- 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Francesca Carrara. […], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, […], (successor to Henry Colburn), OCLC 630079698, page 69:
- "After all," said the Chevalier, "these portraits—Madame de I'Hôpital's fortune-telling—the pleasure we take in a lover or a physician—may all be referred to the same cause,—we do so enjoy talking about ourselves; and yet we feel some sort of excuse necessary. It must be admitted, that we are ready in pretexts."
- 1996, Gernet, Jacques, J. R. Foster and Charles Hartman, transl., A History of Chinese Civilization, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, OCLC 248590749, page 580:
- The smallest incidents were to serve as pretexts for demonstrations of force and for demands for indemnities and reparations which increased China's subjection. For example, in 1876 China was constrained to sign the Conventions of Chih-fu (near Yen-tʻai, in north-eastern Shantung) with Great Britain after the murder of an English interpreter on the borders of Yunnan and Burma; the result was five new 'open ports' on top of the fifteen or so already existing.
- 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
- pretext in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- pretext in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
pretext n (plural pretexte)
Declension of pretext