• WordNet 3.6
    • n pretense the act of giving a false appearance "his conformity was only pretending"
    • n pretense an artful or simulated semblance "under the guise of friendship he betrayed them"
    • n pretense a false or unsupportable quality
    • n pretense imaginative intellectual play
    • n pretense pretending with intention to deceive
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Pretense Intention; design. "A very pretense and purpose of unkindness."
    • Pretense That which is pretended; false, deceptive, or hypocritical show, argument, or reason; pretext; feint. "Let not the Trojans, with a feigned pretense Of proffered peace, delude the Latian prince."
    • Pretense The act of holding out, or offering, to others something false or feigned; presentation of what is deceptive or hypocritical; deception by showing what is unreal and concealing what is real; false show; simulation; as, pretense of illness; under pretense of patriotism; on pretense of revenging Cæsar's death.
    • Pretense The act of laying claim; the claim laid; assumption; pretension. "Primogeniture can not have any pretense to a right of solely inheriting property or power.""I went to Lambeth with Sir R. Brown's pretense to the wardenship of Merton College, Oxford."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n pretense An intention; a design; a purpose.
    • n pretense The act of pretending, or putting forward something to conceal the true state of affairs, and thus to deceive; hence, the representation of that which does not exist; simulation; feigning; a false or hypocritical show; a sham.
    • n pretense That under cover of which an actual design or meaning is concealed; a pretext.
    • n pretense Pretension; aspiration; the putting forth of a claim, particularly to merit, dignity, or personal worth; pretentiousness.
    • n pretense A claim; a right asserted, with or without foundation.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Pretense Same as Pretence.
    • ***


  • Eric Hoffer
    “Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.”
  • Frederic Raphael
    Frederic Raphael
    “The television critic, whatever his pretensions, does not labor in the same vineyard as those he criticizes; his grapes are all sour.”
  • William James
    “To give up pretensions is as blessed a relief as to get them ratified.”
  • John Tillotson
    John Tillotson
    “The crafty person is always in danger; and when they think they walk in the dark, all their pretenses are transparent.”
  • John Kenneth Galbraith
    “In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.”
  • William A. Sunday
    William A. Sunday
    “If there is no Hell a good many preachers are obtaining money under false pretenses.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
LL. praetensus, for L. praetentus, p. p. of praetendere,. See Pretend, and cf. Tension


In literature:

True, her manner could not have been called boisterously joyful, and indeed she made no pretense of the kind.
"The President" by Alfred Henry Lewis
So Jimmy Holden dropped all pretense.
"The Fourth R" by George Oliver Smith
Still there was no other sound, not a gasp, not even the pretense of a bark.
"Polly" by L. T. Meade
Still greater division of voices I have heard on his pretensions to be thought handsome.
"The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey--Vol. 1" by Thomas de Quincey
Of hypocrisy, selfishness, vanity, pretense, he was severe in his denunciation.
"Little Journeys To The Homes Of Great Teachers" by Elbert Hubbard
We should be careful that we are not misled by their egregious pretensions.
"Continental Monthly , Vol I, Issue I, January 1862" by Various
It was like his pretense of weariness on the long carry down the canyon, she thought.
"The Quirt" by B.M. Bower
The Indian habitations which girdle the city have no more architectural pretensions than an Arab dwelling.
"The Andes and the Amazon" by James Orton
The Scottish parliament was astonished at so new a pretension, and answered only by their silence.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part B. From Henry III. to Richard III." by David Hume
They thought proper, therefore, immediately to oppose pretension to pretension.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part D. From Elizabeth to James I." by David Hume
Their sudden profulgation prevented them from bringing their pretensions to a full conclusion.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part E. From Charles I. to Cromwell" by David Hume
Some of its advocates and votaries made great pretensions to holiness and unusual gifts.
"History of Rationalism Embracing a Survey of the Present State of Protestant Theology" by John F. Hurst
If she is in the house, the pretense that she is sick cannot be kept up long.
"Frank Merriwell's Reward" by Burt L. Standish
Sir Robert Peel names all, without meaning to imply that the pretensions of all are very valid ones.
"The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume 1 (of 3), 1837-1843)" by Queen Victoria
He judged his own pretensions solely from her interest.
"Pirate Gold" by Frederic Jesup Stimson
And I'm actuated by positive benevolence; I've that impudent pretension.
"The Tragic Muse" by Henry James
Spain had pretensions on our southern, Great Britain on our northern borders.
"Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams." by Josiah Quincy
Affectation, finesse, pretense and veneer were unknown.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 14" by Elbert Hubbard
To such a pretension no one but an unbeliever could object.
"The Swedish Revolution Under Gustavus Vasa" by Paul Barron Watson
Moya made her brave pretense of gayety.
"The Highgrader" by William MacLeod Raine

In poetry:

Through the dim hours they creak and groan,
Their laughter plays with tyrant Man,
Shaken with stiff derision
For his pretensions and his span.
"Vigil" by Katharine Tynan
But what care I if this be all pretense?
'T will serve a heart that seeks for truth no more,
All one thy folly or indifference,--
Hail, lovely mask, thy beauty I adore!
"L'Amour Du Mensonge" by John Hay
We stood a moment so in a strange world,
Myself as one his own pretense deceives;
And then I said the truth (and we moved on).
A young beech clinging to its last year's leaves.
"A Boundless Moment" by Robert Frost
All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide.
"All In The Golden Afternoon" by Lewis Carroll
Last night we were single, a radiant core of completion,
Surrounded by flames that embraced us but left no burns,
To-day we are only ourselves; we have plans and pretensions;
We move in dividing streets with our small and different concerns.
"The Flaming Circle" by Louis Untermeyer
I shall not forget how his laugh rang out.
I felt as a fool to have been so caught,
And checked my steps to make pretense
I was something among the leaves I sought
(Though doubtful whether he stayed to see).
Thereafter I sat me against a tree.
"The Demiurge's Laugh" by Robert Frost

In news:

It sort of takes away from the charm of the shipping container concept, but hey, we should probably drop any indie pretense on this one anyway.
'I'd assumed by its pretension and ridiculous complexity that it would be rejected'.
No longer any pretense on voter ID.
Drop the pretense that nonprofit arms are private.
Daley and any pretense of moderation are out at the White House.
Southpaw's 'Hipster Demolition Night' is music without pretense .
Charm Without The Pretense .
Music Without the Pretension (in Silver Lake.).
Pretension Pollutes the New York Film Festival.
Maria Semple 's "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" skewers the pretensions of Seattle's new money while introducing a crazy cast of characters you find yourself caring about.
Maria Semple's "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" skewers the pretensions of Seattle's new money while introducing a crazy cast of characters you find yourself caring about.
FIDLAR's "Cheap Beer": Put Down Your Beer Pretensions Already.
The trailer on Route 1 in Wiscasset lacks pretension.
Given his track record, it'd seem quarrelsome to accuse Barry Sonnenfeld of harboring any world-historic pretensions.
Sport-as- art is a secret that we fans keep so the wrong people, the ones who can make "serious" art a misery with their pretension, can't mess up our fun.

In science:

The reader should not take seriously the specific details. I have no pretense that the brain works with exactly the implementation I will describe below.
A model of memory, learning and recognition
With no pretense in this direction, I shall only aim at giving the “flavor” of the most relevant concepts and results.
Theoretical analysis of optimization problems - Some properties of random k-SAT and k-XORSAT
Often, however, the physical conditions of the Comptonizing medium are poorly understood or are not of interest, and one is satisfied with an empirical model that seeks to match the data with no pretense that the model describes the physical system.
A Simple Comptonization Model
Finally the authors’ pretensions ”to put an end to the controversy about the nature of the magnetic phase transition and its evolution with pressure in MnSi” do not look even slightly founded.
Comment on "Nature of the high-pressure tricritical point in MnSi"
So string theory does truly have pretensions to be a complete unified theory.
String Theory: Lessons for Low Energy Physics
It would be more satisfactory to describe both the system and apparatus by the same quantum laws especially if quantum mechanics has pretensions to be the fundamental theory of physics.
Hidden Variables, Non Contextuality and Einstein-Locality in Quantum Mechanics
In such cases MisereSolver uses significant optimizations to compute the next pretension Φ(Hn+1 ).
Misere quotients for impartial games: Supplementary material
Consider instead the case in which a treatment group is selected by drawing a simple random sample of clusters of measurement units, but the analysis adopts the simplifying pretense that the group assigned to treatment constitutes a simple random sample of measurement units themselves.
Covariate Balance in Simple, Stratified and Clustered Comparative Studies
Each of the cited bene fits is potentially attainabl e to a greater degree in true peer review but without all the hassles and pretensions that are associated with the former.
True Peer Review
Thus spoke the wise Queen Delores, saying, “I have studied mathematics. I will question this young man, in my tent tonight, and in the morning I will report the truth as to his pretensions”.
Notes on two elementary evolutionary games