Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Language: Latin
Origin: praetextus, from praetexere 'to weave in front, make an excuse'


pre‧text [countable]
a false reason given for an action, in order to hide the real reason
pretext for
The incident provided the pretext for war.
on/under the pretext of doing something
Tom called at her apartment on the pretext of asking for a book.
on/under the pretext that
He left immediately on the pretext that he had a train to catch.
He'll phone on some pretext or other.

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