pretend Definition

to behave as if something is true when it is not, especially in order to deceive people or for fun.

Using pretend: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "pretend" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    He pretended to be asleep.

  • Example

    She pretended not to hear him.

  • Example

    The children were pretending to be pirates.

  • Example

    I can't pretend to like him.

pretend Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for pretend

Antonyms for pretend

  • be honest
  • be genuine

Idioms Using pretend

  • to act as if one does not know or understand something


    He pretended ignorance when asked about the missing money.

  • pretend to be someone/something

    to act as if one is someone or something else


    She pretended to be a doctor in order to get free medical supplies.

  • make believe (that) / make-believe

    to pretend or imagine that something is true


    Let's make believe that we're on a spaceship!

Phrases with pretend

  • pretend play

    a type of imaginative play where children act out various roles and scenarios


    Pretend play is an important part of a child's development.

  • pretend friend

    an imaginary friend that a child creates and interacts with


    Many children have a pretend friend at some point in their childhood.

  • to claim or act as if one has the right to a position of power or authority


    After the king died, his younger brother pretended to the throne.

Origins of pretend

from Old French 'pretendre', meaning 'to claim'


Summary: pretend in Brief

The verb 'pretend' [priˈtɛnd] means to act as if something is true when it is not, often for the purpose of deceiving others or for fun. It is commonly used in phrases like 'pretend play' and 'pretend friend,' referring to children's imaginative games. The idiom 'pretend ignorance' means to act as if one does not know something, while 'make believe' means to pretend or imagine something is true.

How do native speakers use this expression?