From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishldoce_740_zpretendpre‧tend1 /prɪˈtend/ ●●● S2 W3 verb 1 [intransitive, transitive]PRETEND to behave as if something is true when in fact you know it is not, in order to deceive people or for funpretend (that) We can’t go on pretending that everything is OK. Let’s pretend we’re on the Moon.pretend to do something She pretended not to notice. He’s not asleep – he’s just pretending. To pretend ignorance of the situation would be irresponsible. I can’t marry her and to pretend otherwise would be wrong.2 [transitive usually in negatives]PRETEND to claim that something is true, when it is notpretend (that) I can’t pretend I understand these technical terms (=I admit I do not understand them).pretend to do/be something The book doesn’t pretend to be for beginners.THESAURUSpretend /prɪˈtend/ to deliberately behave as though something is true when it is not, either for fun or to deceive someoneMark closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep.She shouted but he pretended that he hadn’t heard her.act to behave in a particular way – often used when saying that someone is pretending that something is true, when it is notPaul acted as if nothing was wrong.She always acts like she’s pleased to see me, but I’m sure she’s not. He enjoyed acting the fool (=pretending to be stupid) and couldn’t care less about his studies.The boy acted all innocent and said that he knew nothing about the money. I tried to act the good housewife when I got married.make out something informal to pretend that something is true, in order to avoid doing something or to deceive someoneI didn’t want to go, so I made out I was busy.She always makes out that she doesn’t have any money.be putting it on informal to be pretending to be ill, hurt etc, especially in order to avoid doing something, or to make other people feel sympathy for youShe’s not really upset, she’s just putting it on.feign interest/surprise/ignorance/illness etc formal to pretend that you are interested, surprised etc‘Oh really!’ he said, trying to feign interest.Sometimes it’s best just to feign ignorance (=pretend that you do not know).keep up appearances to pretend that your life is happy and successful, especially when you have suffered some kind of trouble or lossAlthough we were poor, our family always tried to keep up appearances.She did her best to keep up appearances after her husband left her.to pretend to be someone or somethingimpersonate to copy the way that a famous person speaks and behaves, in order to entertain people, or to pretend to have an official job, in order to trick peopleHe’s brilliant at impersonating the president.It’s illegal to impersonate a police officer.pose as somebody to pretend to be someone else, especially someone in an official position, so that it is easier for you to do something bad or illegalHe posed as a doctor to gain access to the hospital.There have been cases of thieves posing as telephone engineers.masquerade as somebody/something disapproving to pretend to be someone or something else – used especially when saying that someone or something is not who they claim to beTheir advertisements are always full of people in white coats masquerading as scientists.It’s not real news – it’s government propaganda masquerading as news. → See Verb table
Examples from the Corpuspretend• I don't think he's asleep - I think he's just pretending.• We thought that he was really hurt, but he was just pretending.• I am so relieved to not be pretending anymore.• I like to drive around in my brother's BMW and pretend I'm a rich businessman.• We were nervous and pretended not to be, and seeing her rig made us look at each other, nodding.• All his waking life he pretended not to hear other voices.• I pretended not to see her, and carried on walking down the street.• And they had not come, or they had sat across from him and pretended that every-thing was fine.• Bill closed his eyes, and pretended that the war was over and that he was safe at home.• They got into the house by pretending they worked for the electricity company.• Jill is on my lap, pretending to be a baby.• He burst into the room with a toy gun in his hand, pretending to be a gangster.• She pretended to be ill and took a day off work• We pretended to be students and got into the club for free.• But she was not the same as them, she could not pretend to be.• Then the researchers just pretended to increase the lighting.pretend otherwise• But if you are well known, it seems foolish to pretend otherwise.• Eleanor was wrong to try and pretend otherwise.• I knew at once that something was different, why pretend otherwise?• It makes people feel better to pretend otherwise.• Nevertheless they were two real victories, and it is childish of Bush's opponents to pretend otherwise.• The introduction of council tax is going to hurt an awful lot of people and there is no point in pretending otherwise.• Though she'd never been much of a nurse and it was hypocritical to pretend otherwise.• Though he found it convenient to pretend otherwise, the man was no hick care-taker.pretend to do/be something• One pilot pretended to be Amelia Earhart while another pretended to be Charles Lindbergh.• For him she was a guilty woman pretending to be an innocent one.• I filled in the rest of that day by pretending to be busy with the audit.• You are, or pretend to be, indifferent to whatever may happen to your reputation.• Ralph pretended to be scared until Mona grew bored.• Stop pretending to be so heartless.• It's plump actors pretending to be working class, when their fathers are neuro-surgeons.pretendpretend2 adjective IMAGINEimaginary or not real – used especially by children We sang songs around a pretend campfire.
Examples from the Corpuspretend• We're building a pretend rocket to the moon.Origin pretend1 (1300-1400) Latin praetendere “to stretch out in front, make an excuse”, from tendere “to stretch”