Meaning of “pretend” in the English Dictionary

"pretend" in English

See all translations

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


uk /prɪˈtend/ us /prɪˈtend/

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

"pretend" in American English

See all translations

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.
adjective [ not gradable ] us /prɪˈtend/

a pretend tea party

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

Help us add to the Cambridge Dictionary!

These examples are from external sources. Click on the icon to tell us if any are not OK.


Nobody can pretend that democracy is the answer to everything, but without fair and free democratic elections many other things are simply impossible.
Instead, the pathetic situation arose in which the leaders of the large groups appeared as 'professional mourners', giving their assurances that their refusal to give discharge was really only pretend.
We also oppose those who pretend to deplore the effects of restructurings on society yet who do nothing to propose the slightest binding measure to prevent them.
They have been totally disregarded by those capable of importing cheap mushrooms, adding value and selling them to the supermarkets, which pretend that they are local.
We want to provide appropriate funding for information measures and not to pretend that the public has sufficient information about this problem.
I find it more than cynical that those same people stand up and pretend they have a monopoly on ethics and morals.
If we are to add more of these initiatives or more work, we also need the resources and we cannot pretend otherwise.
I appreciate that if we want to have an open ballot we can do so, but then we should not pretend that we have been voting secretly.
We cannot look the other way and pretend that nothing happened this summer, when in fact we witnessed the invasion and subsequent occupation by force of a sovereign state.
As she is a woman from a different ethnic group, we pretend this is of no concern to us, throw her a couple of cents and walk on.

Blogs about "pretend"