To pretend is to act as if you're someone else. If you pretend to be your mother for a phone conference with your math teacher, try putting on her high heels to help you get into character.

When children or actors are pretending, it's fine, just playing. But if you pretend to someone who doesn't know you're just playing, you're likely to be condemned for it. No one likes it of you pretend to be a good member of the community just so people won't suspect you when you steal things from their houses. You might pretend you went to Harvard to impress someone, but if he finds out you didn't, he'll be very unimpressed.

Definitions of pretend

v make believe with the intent to deceive

affect, dissemble, feign, sham
make, make believe
represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like
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play possum
to pretend to be dead
take a dive
pretend to be knocked out, as of a boxer
bull, bullshit, fake, talk through one's hat
speak insincerely or without regard for facts or truths
articulate silently; form words with the lips only
lip-sync, lip-synch
move the lips in synchronization (with recorded speech or song)
Type of:
belie, misrepresent
represent falsely

v behave unnaturally or affectedly

act, dissemble
act, behave, do
behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
assume, feign, sham, simulate
make a pretence of
pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity
deceive by a mock action

v represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like

make, make believe
affect, dissemble, feign, sham
make believe with the intent to deceive
go through the motions
pretend to do something by acting as if one was really doing it
Type of:
act, play, represent
play a role or part

v put forward a claim and assert right or possession of

pretend the title of King”
Type of:
arrogate, claim, lay claim
demand as being one's due or property; assert one's right or title to

v put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation

“I cannot pretend to say that you are wrong”
guess, hazard, venture
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anticipate, call, forebode, foretell, predict, prognosticate, promise
make a prediction about; tell in advance
surmise, suspect
imagine to be the case or true or probable
interpret the significance of, as of palms, tea leaves, intestines, the sky; also of human behavior
outguess, second-guess
attempt to anticipate or predict
predict from an omen
bet, wager
maintain with or as if with a bet
calculate, forecast
predict in advance
prophesy, vaticinate
predict or reveal through, or as if through, divine inspiration
Type of:
talk over conjecturally, or review in an idle or casual way and with an element of doubt or without sufficient reason to reach a conclusion

v state insincerely

“She pretended not to have known the suicide bomber”
“She pretends to be an expert on wine”
Type of:
assert or affirm strongly; state to be true or existing

adj imagined as in a play

“dangling their legs in the water to catch pretend fish”
lacking in reality or substance or genuineness; not corresponding to acknowledged facts or criteria

n the enactment of a pretense

“it was just pretend
Type of:
feigning, pretence, pretending, pretense, simulation
the act of giving a false appearance

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