pretense

When you operate under a pretense, you're not being honest. You're pretending. If you say you're going to a party because you’re eager to see your friend, but really you're just interested in the birthday cake, you’re acting on pretense.

Pretense involves deceiving on purpose, and it's usually something you shouldn’t be proud of. Under the pretense of being a college student, you might sneak into a library restricted to enrolled students. That’s dishonest and deceitful. But pretense isn’t always bad. You might not want to hurt your mother’s feelings, so you make a pretense of loving her tuna casserole, even though you’re trying not to gag on it.

Definitions of pretense
  1. noun
    the act of giving a false appearance
    synonyms: feigning, pretence, pretending, simulation
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    types:
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    appearance, show
    pretending that something is the case in order to make a good impression
    make-believe, pretend
    the enactment of a pretense
    affectation, affectedness, mannerism, pose
    a deliberate pretense or exaggerated display
    masquerade
    making a false outward show
    attitude
    a theatrical pose created for effect
    radical chic
    an affectation of radical left-wing views and the fashionable dress and lifestyle that goes with them
    type of:
    deceit, deception, dissembling, dissimulation
    the act of deceiving
  2. noun
    pretending with intention to deceive
    synonyms: dissembling, feigning, pretence
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    bluff
    pretense that your position is stronger than it really is
    pretext, stalking-horse
    something serving to conceal plans; a fictitious reason that is concocted in order to conceal the real reason
    hypocrisy, lip service
    an expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction
    putoff
    a pretext for delay or inaction
    crocodile tears
    a hypocritical display of sorrow; false or insincere weeping
    type of:
    deceit, deception, misrepresentation
    a misleading falsehood
  3. noun
    a false or unsupportable quality
    synonyms: pretence, pretension
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    type of:
    artificiality
    the quality of being produced by people and not occurring naturally
  4. noun
    an artful or simulated semblance
    synonyms: guise, pretence, pretext
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    type of:
    color, colour, gloss, semblance, veneer
    an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading
  5. noun
    imaginative intellectual play
    synonyms: make-believe, pretence
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    type of:
    imagery, imagination, imaging, mental imagery
    the ability to form mental images of things or events
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