From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishpretencepre‧tence British English, pretense American English /prɪˈtens $ ˈpriːtens/ noun [singular, uncountable] 🔊 🔊 1PRETENDa way of behaving which is intended to make people believe something that is not truepretence that 🔊 the pretence that the old system could be made to workpretence 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.2 →under/on false pretencesCOLLOCATIONSadjectivesan elaborate pretence (=one that is carefully planned and done, but obviously not true or real )He made an elaborate pretence of yawning and said he was going to bed.verbsmake a pretenceSteve made a vague pretence at being interested.keep up/maintain a pretence (=keep pretending that you are doing something or that something is true)She kept up the pretence that her husband had died in order to claim the insurance money.abandon/give up/drop a pretence (=stop pretending that you are doing something or that something is true)Maria had abandoned any pretence of having faith of any kind long ago.make no pretence (=not pretend to do or have something)I made no pretence of great musical knowledge.
Examples from the Corpus
pretence• He adopts Harsnett's premise that possession is a theatricalperformance - Edgar continually brings attention to his madness being a pretence.• Designing with tradition is not a pretence for re-creating the old.• The parent's intention is often to protect so they hidetears and sorrowingputting on a ghastlypretence of cheerfulness.• For all her pretence, she loved books.• On the Reach itself, there could be no pretence that this would be an ordinary night.• Mr Tellwright made no pretence of concealing his satisfaction.• Gummer makes no pretence of objectivity in his text.• The worst thing about liberalacademics is the pretence that they are somehow more open-minded than their opponents.• Wilson asked Carly out to dinner, on the pretence that he wanted to talk to her about business.• For six weeks, Charlotte had sustained the pretence that her suspicions about Maurice could somehow be stifled.• After two weeks he could keep up the pretence no longer and decided to tell her the truth.keep up the pretence• How long could she keep up the pretence of being a competentsailor?• She was strongly aware of his presence, and in the end she couldn't keep up the pretence.• It was only in London they had to keep up the pretence that Buckmaster had nothing to do with his company.• Though we no longer went out together in the evenings, I promised to keep up the pretence that we did.• What effort is required to keep up the pretence?