Pre*tense", Pre*tence (?), n. [LL. praetensus, for L. praetentus, p. p. of praetendere. See Pretend, and cf. Tension.]


The act of laying claim; the claim laid; assumption; pretension.


Primogeniture can not have any pretense to a right of solely inheriting property or power. Locke.

I went to Lambeth with Sir R. Brown's pretense to the wardenship of Merton College, Oxford. Evelyn.


The act of holding out, or offering, to others something false or feigned; presentation of what is deceptive or hypocritical; deception by showing what is unreal and concealing what is real; false show; simulation; as, pretense of illness; under pretense of patriotism; on pretense of revenging Caesar's death.


That which is pretended; false, deceptive, or hypocritical show, argument, or reason; pretext; feint.

Let not the Trojans, with a feigned pretense Of proffered peace, delude the Latian prince. Dryden.


Intention; design.


A very pretense and purpose of unkindness. Shak.

⇒ See the Note under Offense.

Syn. -- Mask; appearance; color; show; pretext; excuse. -- Pretense, Pretext. A pretense is something held out as real when it is not so, thus falsifying the truth. A pretext is something woven up in order to cover or conceal one's true motives, feelings, or reasons. Pretext is often, but not always, used in a bad sense.


© Webster 1913.

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