pretense-n; 4 Senses

Sense Number 1: a deceitful action or statement

Commentary: PRETENSE[+action][+deceitful]
NOTE: refers to acts or deeds of deceit

Did he make the statement under false pretense?
There was much secrecy and pretense in the diplomatic circles before the war.
The rabbit was not fooled by the dog's pretense of walking away at an angle from it. (feign)

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1, 2, 5

Sense Number 2: imaginative intellectual play

Commentary: PRETENSE[+activity][+play][+imaginative]
NOTE: no pejorative connotation (as with senses 1,3,4)

Young children naturally engage in pretense, such as having imaginary friends.
John didn't like the novel's pretense of faster-than-light space travel.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 3

Sense Number 3: pomposity, personal aggrandizement

Commentary: PRETENSE[+quality][+pomposity]

She has such pretenses about her social standing in the community.
John says the waiter at that dive has all the pretenses of a maitre d' at a fancy restaurant.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 4

Sense Number 4: presenting a misleading appearance or impression

Commentary: PRETENSE[+state][+semblance][+misleading]
NOTE: refers to the overall impression one gives, not to specific actions of deceit (sense 1)

His air of superiority was just a pretense to hide his insecurity.
Many feel his alleged concerns were just a pretense to invade the neighboring country.
The interrogator asked the questions without any pretense of politeness.