to put forward a false appearance of, so as to deceive: [~ + object]I would pretend illness so I wouldn't have to go to school.[~ + to + verb]She pretended to sleep whenever I came in to check on her.[~ + (that) clause]The children pretended they were cowboys.[no object]The kids were only pretending.
to lay claim to:[~ + to + object]to pretend to the throne.
Latin praetendere to stretch forth, put forward, pretend. See pre-, tend1
Middle English pretenden 1325–75
1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged simulate, fake, sham, counterfeit. Pretend,affect,assume,feign imply an attempt to create a false appearance. Topretend is to create an imaginary characteristic or to play a part:to pretend sorrow.Toaffect is to make a consciously artificial show of having qualities that one thinks would look well and impress others:to affect shyness.Toassume is to take on or put on a specific outward appearance, often (but not always) with intent to deceive:to assume an air of indifference.Tofeign implies using ingenuity in pretense, and some degree of imitation of appearance or characteristics:to feign surprise.