Pre*tense", Pre*tence (?), n. [LL. praetensus, for L. praetentus, p. p. of praetendere. See Pretend, and cf. Tension.]
The act of laying claim; the claim laid; assumption; pretension.
Primogeniture can not have any pretense to a right of solely inheriting property or power.
I went to Lambeth with Sir R. Brown's pretense to the wardenship of Merton College, Oxford.
The act of holding out, or offering, to others something false or feigned; presentation of what is deceptive or hypocritical; deception by showing what is unreal and concealing what is real; false show; simulation; as, pretense of illness; under pretense of patriotism; on pretense of revenging Caesar's death.
That which is pretended; false, deceptive, or hypocritical show, argument, or reason; pretext; feint.
Let not the Trojans, with a feigned pretense
Of proffered peace, delude the Latian prince.
A very pretense and purpose of unkindness.
⇒ See the Note under Offense.
Syn. -- Mask; appearance; color; show; pretext; excuse. -- Pretense, Pretext. A pretense is something held out as real when it is not so, thus falsifying the truth. A pretext is something woven up in order to cover or conceal one's true motives, feelings, or reasons. Pretext is often, but not always, used in a bad sense.
© Webster 1913.