Meaning of “pretend” in the English Dictionary

"pretend" in British English

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pretendverb [ I ]

uk /prɪˈtend/ us /prɪˈtend/

B2 to behave as if something is true when you know that it is not, especially in order to deceive people or as a game:

[ + (that) ] He pretended (that) he didn't mind, but I knew that he did.
The children pretended (that) they were dinosaurs.
[ + to infinitive ] Were you just pretending to be interested?
She's not really hurt - she's only pretending.
Of course I was angry - I can't pretend otherwise.
not pretend to do sth formal

to not claim something that is false:

I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject.

More examples

  • She'll pretend that she hasn't seen us - you watch.
  • Just for a laugh, I pretended that I'd forgotten it was his birthday.
  • He isn't really angry - he's just pretending.
  • She sidled past him, pretending that she had not seen him.
  • He even tried to pretend he was a film star's son - can you believe it?

pretendadjective

uk /prɪˈtend/ us /prɪˈtend/

(Definition of “pretend” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"pretend" in American English

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pretendverb [ I/T ]

us /prɪˈtend/

to behave as if something is true when you know that it is not, esp. in order to deceive people or as a game:

[ + (that) clause ] The children pretended (that) they were dinosaurs.
pretend
adjective [ not gradable ] us /prɪˈtend/

a pretend tea party

(Definition of “pretend” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)