pre‧tence British English ; pretense American English [singular,uncountable]
a way of behaving which is intended to make people believe something that is not true
the pretence that the old system could be made to work
pretence of/at (being/doing) something
a pretence at seriousness
Tollitt made no pretense of being surprised.
How long are you going to keep up the pretence of being ill?
abandon/give up/drop a pretence
Abandoning any pretense at politeness, they ran for the door.
under the pretence of (doing) something
John waited for her under the pretence of tying his shoelaces.
It was all an elaborate pretence.
without telling the truth about yourself or your intentions:
You brought me here under false pretences!