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
  1. verb
    make believe with the intent to deceive
    synonyms: 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, 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
  2. verb
    behave unnaturally or affectedly
    synonyms: act, dissemble
    act, behave, do
    behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
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    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
  3. verb
    represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like
    synonyms: make, make believe
    affect, dissemble, feign, sham
    make believe with the intent to deceive
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    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
  4. verb
    put forward a claim and assert right or possession of
    pretend the title of King”
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    type of:
    arrogate, claim, lay claim
    demand as being one's due or property; assert one's right or title to
  5. verb
    put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation
    “I cannot pretend to say that you are wrong”
    synonyms: 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, project
    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
  6. verb
    state insincerely
    synonyms: profess
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    type of:
    assert or affirm strongly; state to be true or existing
  7. adjective
    imagined as in a play
    “dangling their legs in the water to catch pretend fish”
    synonyms: make-believe
    lacking in reality or substance or genuineness; not corresponding to acknowledged facts or criteria
  8. noun
    the enactment of a pretense
    “it was just pretend
    synonyms: make-believe
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    type of:
    feigning, pretence, pretending, pretense, simulation
    the act of giving a false appearance
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