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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).

Pretend, v. Also: prae- and -tende. P.t. pretendit etc., also pretend. Pres. p. pretendand etc., also -ant, -eng. [ME and e.m.E. pretende(n (Chaucer, Wyclif), pretend, L. prætendere, F. prétendre (15th c. in Littré).]

1. tr. To hold forth for viewing, to display, to show. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 725 (Asl.).
And Crist oure king sall fra the hevyne discend … Than of his passioun he sall takinnis pretend

2. a. To show forth as a representation, to represent, signify, betoken. b. To hold out as a prospect for the future, to portend, presage, bode. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 4454.
As to the mytir … It may betakin the crovne thow sendis to me … And alsa as the gold tribute pretendis Eftir the crovne the tribute thow me sendis
a1500 Bk. Chess 243.
This round ball suld in the self pretend That of the realme
1513 Doug. iii viii 65.
Ha, lugyn land, batale thou ws pretendis [Sm., Ruddim. portendis; L. bellum … portas]; … Weir and debait thir stedis signyfyis
Ib. v xii 75.
Quhat pretendis [L. portenderet] this fellon goddes greif
Ib. x v 147.
Or frawart Syrius … Quhilk … is the syng Pretendand [L. ferens] tyll all mortale folk … Contagyus infirmyteis and seiknes

c. ? To grant as a favour. c 1580 Maitl. F. clxx 196.
Be mirrie for his marcie manifest Promplie a perfyt plesour dois pretend

3. To put forward, offer for consideration or acceptance (a claim, or an excuse), to tender, submit, allege. Also absol. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 535.
Pretendand that occasioune That in the recompensioune Of the Palladinar haue ȝhe Ordeyned that ilk horse to be
c1420 Wynt. vii Prol. 28.
Than suld I … wyn, till succoure me fra blame The gyrth off excusatyowne, Gud will pretendand for resowne
1425 Liber Melros 544.
The said parteis … schawand and pretendand thair rychtis and clamys on ilke syde
1439 Cop. St. A. 171.
Nochtwitstandyng ony clam that Schir Alexander Hume pretendis of tak tharof
1456 Hay I 191/15.
The resoun that thai pretend is this
1456–70 Liber Aberbr. II 107. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1457 (Bann.).
For till excus thow can no caus pretend
absol. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2691 (H).
Ȝe suld pretend [Bann. proceid] thairfoir, ane summoundis mak Aganis that day, to gif reasoun and tak

b. To bring (an action at law) or lay (an accusation) (against (againis etc.) another). Also fig. 1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 39.
Thai … war & ar frely deliueryt nocht agaynstandand the accusacioun pretendit agaynes thaim
1408 Ib. No. 67.
In to the cause the qwhilke the bischope of Dunkelden pretendis agayne vs
1463 Wemyss Chart. 82.
Off all chargis, clame, questione [etc.] … that I ma pretend allege or oppon agane the said Johne
1569 Reg. Privy C. II 30.
The said Gilbertis actioun … that he may have, pretend, or move, aganis the airis
fig. a1561 Norvell Meroure 19 b.
That sinne nor death pretend no actione

c. ? To offer, tender (one's suit or the like). 1678 Red Bk. Grandtully II 241.
I thought it my dutie to aquant you that the Laird of Sornbeg hath pretended an respect to me … .So I ernstly desir that ye wold giue me your advice in it

4. a. To put forward or allege (ignorance) as an excuse. 1541 Reg. Privy S. II 654/1.
That nane of oure schireffis … suld pretend ignorance throw mysknawing thairof
1563–4 Reg. Privy C. I 256. 1592 Acts III 574/1.
Mony pretending excuse of ignorance and misknawlege
1602 Misc. Maitl. C. III 51.
That … copyis be delyverit … that they pretend na ignorance
1609 St. A. Baxter Bks. 73. 1621 Dumbarton B. Rec. App. i 4. 1641 Fraser P. 121. 1652 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 133.

b. To put forward by way of pretext, to profess as a pretext. 1596 Dalr. II 443/19.
The hæreticks pretendeng religione for quhat euir … crime tha did

5. To give oneself out as holding or occupying, to claim to hold or enjoy, to profess to have (a right, privilege, authority, position, etc.). 1402 Dundee Chart. 18 (facsimile).
Allegant and pretendant a speciale fredome
1442–3 Coldingham Priory 148.
The said dan John gafe … the ferming of Ald Cambos for xv ȝer, pretending nothir lycens na mandament of ȝw
1456 Hay I 185/1.
To mak were … for certane rychtis that he pretendis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 711 (Bann.).
Ȝit wald I fane pretend a gentill stait [Ch., H. pretend to gentill stait]
1533 Bell. Livy II 6/14. 1563 Acts II 537/2.
This declaratioun aganis minouris or vthers quhatsumeuer that may pretend priuilege of na prescriptioun
1565–6 Reg. Privy C. I 429.
The said David … pretendand kyndnes to the saidis landis be ane pretendit tak
1566 Ib. 479. 1568 Mary in Reg. Morton I 37.
In the successioun that ilk ane of tham pretendis on his awine syid
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 25.
Thair maist hie tresoun agains the quene, pretending hir authoritie and stopping hir libertie
1570 Leslie 101. 1574 Reg. Privy C. II 392. 1581 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 145.
And all vtheris haiffand or pretendand interes
1589 Dundas Fam. P. No. 27.
Pretendant our name to cloik thair unlauchfull doingis
1610 Denmylne MSS. in Highland P. III 120.
Thair is mony … who will pretend verie iust caus of greif … yf thay salbe dispossest [etc.]
Ib. 119. 1611 Rec. Old Aberd. I 50. 1613 St. A. Baxter Bks. 79.
All rycht and title I may pretend as eldest sone to my said vmquhill father
1622-6 Bisset II 185/32. 16.. Herries Mem. 61. 1672 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct.) 4 June.
All … debts … quherunto she may or can pretend right

b. Const. to have (a right etc.) and reflex. 1456 Hay I 255/9.
Scho … gert the pape deprive thame of all the rychtis … that thai pretendit to have
1490 Irland Mir. II 31/24.
The power and autorite that he had or pretendit to haue apone mankind
1494 Loutfut MS 24 a.
For lordschip requiris priuete mair than strangnes till him that pretendis til haff it
1532 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 57.
Hevand or pretendand to hef … enteres to the saidis akyris
1614 Lett. Eccl. Affairs I 325. 1653 Glasgow B. Rec. II 262.
All these wha pretendit to have any lair at the kirkyaird dyk sould [etc.]
reflex. 1519 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 189.
The personis havand possessand or pretendant thame to haif entres to the aikerris

c. Const. other verbs of having possession or taking possession. 1513 Doug. xi v 82.
He the quhilk pretendis [L. poscat] to weld the ryng of Italy
1549 Compl. 147/30.
Ve degraid thé fra the nobilite … that thou pretendit to succeid to be the deceisse of thy fathere

6. intr. To lay claim to (also for) (property, a privilege). 1619 Edinb. Test. L 255 b.
Guidis and geir … that … all vtheris executouris kyn and alya may pretend to
16.. Abercrummie Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 20.
The parish of Balantrae … the Lord Bargeny pretends mightily to it, but upon examination it will be found to belong to the abbacy of Crosseraguell
1681 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 12 Oct.
Provydeing alwayse that they shall not pretend for ane ease in tyme comeing

b. tr. To lay claim to. 1676 Rooseboom Sc. Staple App. ccxxix.
The ballance-master shall only pretend the dewes upon such goods as shall be [etc.]

7. reflex. and intr. To profess, claim, make pretension to be (of a certain rank, position, status or character), also without to be and const. as.reflex. (1) 1488–9 Acta Conc. I 105/1.
Pretendand him to be superior of the sammyn
1539 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 94. 1622-6 Bisset II 185/17.
Johnne Balyoll usurpare pretendand him to be the … Scottis king began his pretendit regnne
(2) 1499–1500 Acta Conc. II 347.
Pretendand him bailye to thame without sufficient power
1500 Fraser P. 110.
The said maister Androw pretendit himseff depute to the sherif
1501 Acta Conc. III 36. 1561 St. A. Kirk S. 88.
Pretending and furthschawing hymself ane professor of the Ewangell of Crist Jesus
1577–8 Reg. Privy S. VII 225/2.
Pretendand him immediat heretable tennent to our said soverane lord off [etc.]
intr. (1) 1539 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 207.
Pretendand to be servitouris to the rud altar
1567 Dundee B. Ct. in Lockit Bk. 17 b.
In respect of the gryit misordour of persones … pretendand to be friemen [etc.]
(2) 1584 Gowrie P. 75.
Yow shall still fynd me the same I have pretendid
(3) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 2690.
And to the bischop of the toun he send The quhilk as prince of preistis he pretend

8. tr. a. To cause others to believe, to give out (that), act as if (something were the case). b. To claim, declare, assert (that something is so).Variously const. 1570-3 Bann. Trans. 188.
As vanelie and lienglie thou waldes pretend, bragging that [etc.]
1572 Sat. P. xxxi 97.
For quhy befoir thay did pretend The quenis authoritie to defend, To gar men trow thay lude hir
1598 James VI Minor Prose 76/25.
And so their rebellion shall procure the contrarie effects that they pretend it for
1616 Haigs of Bemersyde 160.
Which he pretends was of my handwrit
1604-31 Craig vi 9/6.
[To Alexander Garden:] Braue pedaret, pretended to haue bene, First senator and cheefe in Sparta chosen
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 390.
Pretending his shipe halfe loaden with coales
1676 Rooseboom Sc. Staple ccxx.
Any grundright, which may be pretended to be payed
1680 Conv. Burghs IV 19.
The Duke of Hamiltoun … pretends that all livering of goods … aught to be at Burrowstounes

c. To give it out as one's intention, to act as if one intended, to promise falsely, to feign (to do something). 1513 Doug. iv vi 116.
For I pretendit nevir, be na meyn, With ȝou to mak the band of mariage [L. nec conjugis unquam praetendi taedas]
1570 Inverness Rec. I 196.
Alse gif the saidis personis vnder colour pretend to leyiff ony of the saidis gudis to the burgessis … of ane inconvenient price
1573 Davidson Sat. P. xlii 463.
Quhilk, gif thay mynd as thay pretend, Thay wald haue begun at this end

9. intr. To aspire to, make pretension to (til, onto etc.) (some position or quality). a1500 Henr. Fab. 935 (Bann.).
Se none pretend to pryde in my presence
1494 Loutfut MS 10 a.
Til a counsal quhar thai saw nan pretendit til mair hie autorite na ane othir
1521 Douglas Corr. 81.
That the Duk of Albany wil pretend to the croune
1535 Stewart 27543. Id. Maitl. F. clv 14.
To princlie honour gif thow will pretend Be liberall
Ib. cxxxv 6. a1570-86 Maitland? in Maitl. F. clxxix 70.
Hewin … Onto the quhilk thow sall pretend
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv 132. c1590 Fowler II 140/2.

b. To give or commit oneself to (a moral vice). 1560 Rolland Seven S. 5513.
To gredynes quha will pretend

10. tr. To aspire to, aim at, intend, purpose, attempt (some objective or action); also const. againis or upon the object of a hostile attempt.(1) 1490 Irland Mir. MS fol. 356 b in G.G. Smith Specimens of Middle Scots 96/19.
Quhen a man seis that he can nocht cum to the honour na proffit that he pretendit, bot [etc.]
1513 Doug. viii ix 82.
Bot o faynt fortoun gyf thou doys pretend And mannancis [L. minaris] ony myschewos cace
1531 Bell. Boece II 294. 1535 Stewart 21461.
And to compleit the purpois he pretend [: send]
Ib. 28070.
In all his tyme greit pece he ay pretendit With Scot and Pecht
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1763.
Quhov thir proude peple did pretende Upe throuch the heuinnis tyll ascende
a1568 Bann. MS 228 b/62.
Hir hois of honest hamelines Na proudnes to pretend
1558-66 Knox I 50.
Thei pretend nothing ellis bot only the mantenance and uphald of thair bardit mullis
1568 Mary in Reg. Morton I 37.
[To] manteine and fortefye ilk ane wther in the successioun that ilk ane of tham pretendis on his awine syid
1571–2 Reg. Privy C. II 116.
Quha … not onelie pretendis the wrak, owerthraw, and distruction, of the said burgh … bot als [etc.]
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv Prol. 3.
Pestiferus prelatis that papistrie pretendis
c1590 J. Stewart 24/347.
All vas impedit quhilk he did pretend
1648 J. Hope Diary (1919) 146.
Warre against England … thogh pretended for defence allanerlie
(2) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 330.
To be reddy aganis the Scottis and Pichtis, gif thai list pretend [L. molirentur] ony new troubill aganis the Britonis
1559 St. A. Kirk S. 7.
Swa sall we … defend … every ane ane uthir against quhatsumever that troubles … us … in our possessioness … or ony uthir caus praetendit upoun religioun
1574 Reg. Privy C. II 356.
Ony … that sall … oppinlie pretend ony tressonable fact … aganis the trew religioun

11. To have a mind, seek, strive; to mean, intend; to attempt (to do something). a1500 Henr. Fab. 2691 (Ch.).
Ȝe suld pretend thairfoir ane summondis mak
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1277.
Furth to proceid this proces I pretend Traistand in God
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1704.
That he pretend and he haue tyme … Off his synnis to mak confessioun
Id. Flyt. 301 (M).
Pretendand thairthrow to vther rowmes to creip … his castell he persewit
1535 Stewart 2285.
That he pretendis throw malice and invy … Of euerilk man to put out bayth his ene
Ib. 45086. 1550 Reg. Privy C. I 84.
In caise it sal happin ony army to pretend to invaid … the said fort
Ib. 99.
And gif thai pretend to do ony hurt … to the cuntre
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iii 327.
Ib. i 782. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6108.
My sone, I pray thé not pretend Ouer far to seik that maner of delyte Quhilk [etc.]
Ib. 6306.
Dame Synthea, I se, scho dois pretend In tyll hir wattry regioun tyll ascend
Ib. 6273. a1568 Bann. MS 65 b/38.
To quhat effect sowld ȝe pretend So slewthfully to latt ouirslyd Sic falsett now as ws offend
Ib. 85 b/13.
To stryk ane vthir gife that thow pretend
a1568 Weddirburn Bann. MS 240 a/46.
Than the briggandis pretendit haistallie To spulȝe thame of thair virginitie
a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. xxi 53.
Thair native countrie to defend Fra thame that hurt it wald pretend
1569 Glasgow Cordiners 252.
Euery man of the said craft pretending to sett vp buitht … sall be made first freman
c 1570 Misc. Wodrow Soc. 81.
My Lord of Arrane … past fordward to follow the Frenchmen, pretending … to have midled with them
1578 Conv. Burghs I 75.
They … to be … debarrit fra the schip they pretendis to saill in
1592–3 Cal. Sc. P. XI 31.
[When she returns, I] do pretend [to go to Spain]
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxxi 46.

12. To have a mind, aspire, hope; to seek or intend (to be or become something). Also without to be.Some examples are in ambiguity with sense 7.(1) 1498 Acta Conc. II 292.
And the sade Thomas and Maister David Gardin quhilkis pretendis thame til be spousis to the sade Jonet for thare enteres in the sade mater
1513 Doug. viii Prol. 106.
Prestis, … Tobe papis of patermon and prelaceis pretendis
c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 139.
I … had in court als greit credence And ay pretendit to be hiear
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in 1573-1600 Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 85/24.
In theologie euerie ane prætends to be vearie lairnet vithout all instruction
1653 Strathbogie Presb. 235.
Only tuo [persons] praetended to be married by the said Gilles
(2) a1578 Pitsc. I 113/9.
James Earle of Douglas, Beattrix his broderis wyffe that pretendit spous to him self

13. Senses 10–12 pass into: To aspire, purpose, attempt, seek, presumptuously; to be so bold as, to presume, to dare (to attempt something). Also reflex. Variously const.(1) a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 42.
Obey and ceis the play that thow pretendis
1531 Bell. Boece I 177.
How dar ye, mischant fulis, pretend [v.r. presume] sic thingis aganis me
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 22.
Thy vaniteis no waye thay wyll aduance Thynkand thé proude sic thyngis to pretende
1570 Sat. P. xviii 76.
Wo to thay pelouris sic interprysis pretend
1576 Reg. Privy C. II 574.
Considering how sum personis … hes pretendit the inbringing of outlandis men to be provest
(2) a1500 Lanc. 3463.
My consell is tharfore, … but radour, yhe pretend To met tham scharply
a1500 Bk. Chess 2177.
And no man suld in to this warld pretend To lichtly ocht or sic men to dispys
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1476.
Bot Him to nech he forbad [to] pretend
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 539.
Thynkand that I presumptuously pretend In vulgair toung so heych mater to writ
1560 Conf. Faith in Knox II 112.
Yf men, under the name of a counsall pretend to forge unto us new articles of our faith, … then [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet I 96/13.
Vsurping … hir hienes auctorite in prætending sa to reforme religioun
1568–9 Dumfries B. Rec. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 173.
That na persone pretend to cum furth … efter nyne houris at nycht
1581 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 41.
That na honest merchand mannes wyff … pretend to weare plaidis efter this houre
1585 Acts III 386/2. 1590 Dundee B. Laws 552.(3) reflex. 1491 Acta Aud. I 155/2.
William Someruale … pretending him to interrup and brek the said sesing … efter the gevin of the samyn
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1336.
Thir pieteous pepill … War wretchis quhilks in lustie ȝeiris fair Pretendit thame till hie honour to creip
Ib. 2163.
Till cum in plane se that thow not pretend thé
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 26.
Quhome on blawes thow thy boist Pretendand thé to wryte sic skaldit skrowis
c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 109.
I pray ȝow that ȝe nocht pretend ȝow To clym ouer hie

b. intr. or absol. To make bold (to challenge or fight), to venture in combat, undertake battle. c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1894.
Pallamydes … Profferit him for to defend Aganis quhom evir wold pretend Be battell
a1500 Lanc. 3280.
My verray consell is, that thow pretend This day … And well thow schaw
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1302 (Asl.).
With knychtlie comfort and godlie helpe pretend That thow sall ȝit ourthraw thi spirituale fa

14. intr. const. adv. compl., in previous senses. a1500 Lanc. 558.
Shir knycht, your lorde wondir hie pretendis, When he to me sic salutatioune sendis
1554 Duncan Laideus Test. 155.
This gentill knycht … Vnto that stoure valiantlie did pretend
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4387.
For all that I for the best dois pretend, Ȝe ay alledge that I thairin offend

15. reflex. ? To extend oneself, to enlarge one's compass of action. a1500 Bk. Chess 2135.
This knycht … in his passing suld he him pretend Frome his first moving in thir poyntis thre In four poyntis syne may his moving be

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