v. pre·tend·ed, pre·tend·ing, pre·tends
1. To give a false appearance of; feign: "You had to pretend conformity while privately pursuing high and dangerous nonconformism" (Anthony Burgess).
2. To claim or allege insincerely or falsely: doesn't pretend to be an expert.
3. To represent fictitiously in play; make believe: pretended they were on a cruise.
4. To take upon oneself; venture: I cannot pretend to say that you are wrong.
1. To feign an action or character, as in play.
2. To lay claim: pretends to gourmet tastes.
Imitation; make-believe: pretend money; pretend pearls.
[Middle English pretenden, from Old French pretendre, from Latin praetendere : prae-, pre- + tendere, to extend; see ten- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.