There are 2 main definitions of pretension in English:

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pretension 1

Pronunciation: /prəˈten(t)SH(ə)n/


1 (pretension to) A claim or the assertion of a claim to something: their pretensions to culture we cannot tolerate pretension to infallibility
More example sentences
  • Another reaction to our new scientific powers is what I will call the Malthusian Pretension - that is, the pretension to the ability to predict mankind's limitations.
  • Intelligence's pretension to being objective is a hoax because those parts of it that do not reconfirm the power structure's interests and predetermined policies are ignored and discarded.
  • As a result, the pretension to universality is all the more justified as researchers find themselves working in decontextualized and highly formalized fields.
aspiration, claim, assertion, pretense, profession
1.1 (often pretensions) An aspiration or claim to a certain status or quality: another aging rocker with literary pretensions
More example sentences
  • Maybe I'll throw my literary pretensions out of the window for a while and try hurling a few oddly-shaped shards of prose in your direction.
  • Preferably female and extremely annoying, with literary pretensions.
  • The important thing is that no one with literary pretensions should be allowed near the project!
2The use of affectation to impress; ostentatiousness: he spoke simply, without pretension
More example sentences
  • He has staked out his claim for being a great critic through portentousness, pomposity, and extravagant pretension, and, from all appearances, seems to have achieved it.
  • Its very simplicity serves as a correction to the elaborate artifice and pretension - most of it hollow - that pervade current dance-making.
  • When she is there with you, she is simply there, with no pretension, no elaboration, no show.
pretentiousness, affectation, ostentation, artificiality, airs, posing, posturing, show, flashiness;


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin praetensio(n-), from praetens- 'alleged', from the verb praetendere (see pretend).

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There are 2 main definitions of pretension in English:

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pretension 2

Pronunciation: /prēˈten(t)SHən/


[with object]
1Apply tension to (an object) before some other process or event: the safety system pretensions the seat belts
More example sentences
  • The Musso also has ABS brakes, traction control, driver's side airbag, pre-tensioned safety belts and side impact protection bars.
  • Mercedes has a similar system on the S-Class called ‘Pre-Safe’ that pre-tensions the seatbelts, adjusts the seats to their optimal crash position if necessary, and closes the sunroof should the vehicle skid.
  • If the sensor net determined that a collision was imminent, the system could brake the vehicle, pre-charge the airbags, pre-tension the seatbelts, and plot a path to impact that would result in the least likelihood of injury or death.
1.1Strengthen (reinforced concrete) by applying tension to the reinforcing rods before the concrete has set.
Example sentences
  • Concrete can be prestressed in a factory by tensioning the steel reinforcement first and then placing concrete around it - ‘pre-tensioned’ reinforcement.
  • Dowel bars are similar steel bars installed across joints to provide resistance to shear, but are not pre-tensioned.
  • Effectively an evolution of the familiar DSC traction control system, DSC + offers a range of benefits, including brake standby that pre-tensions the brakes when the driver quickly removes the pressure from the accelerator pedal.
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