Pretext meaning

prē'tĕkst'
The definition of a pretext is an excuse or a cover up for the truth.

An example of a pretext is a person saying that she is having a small family dinner at home while a group of people are waiting there to surprise her father for his birthday.

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A reason or excuse given to hide the real reason for something.
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A false reason or motive put forth to hide the real one; excuse.
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A cover-up; front.
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The reporter called the company on the pretext of trying to resolve a consumer complaint.

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To employ a pretext, which involves using a false or contrived purpose for soliciting the gain of something else.

The spy obtained his phone records using possibly-illegal pretexting methods.

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Origin of pretext

From French prétexte, from Latin praetextum (“an ornament, etc., wrought in front, a pretense"), neuter of praetextus, past participle of praetexere (“to weave before, fringe or border, allege").