Definition of pretext in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpriːtɛkst/


A reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason: the rebels had the perfect pretext for making their move he called round on the pretext of asking after her mother
More example sentences
  • Various pretexts, excuses, and complications have been invoked over the years, but essentially this is a matter of politically motivated exclusion.
  • We find pretexts and excuses to nip through the main room to check on David, bringing him half an orange, a chunk of chocolate, so he knows we're still thinking of him.
  • The buzz is that the political agenda of the Minister's visit was merely a pretext.
excuse, false excuse, ostensible reason, alleged reason, plea, supposed grounds;
guise, ploy, pretence, ruse, semblance, show, blind, pose, masquerade, mask, cloak, veil, veneer, smokescreen, camouflage, cover, travesty, parody, charade


Early 16th century: from Latin praetextus 'outward display', from the verb praetexere 'to disguise', from prae 'before' + texere 'weave'.

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