Meaning of pretext

pre•text

Pronunciation: (prē'tekst), [key]
— n.
  1. something that is put forward to conceal a true purpose or object; an ostensible reason; excuse: The leaders used the insults as a pretext to declare war.
  2. the misleading appearance or behavior assumed with this intention: His many lavish compliments were a pretext for subtle mockery.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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