I saw this example in Oxford dictionary:

At Christmas, arguments and friction mock our pretense at peace."

I don't know exactly how to interpret this sentence meaningfully. Specifically, I don't know exactly does "pretense" mean. Does that mean "a false display of feelings, attitudes or intentions" or does it mean something else.

If it means "a false display of feelings, attitudes, etc." then how to put it into context, say, some situational example?

I've tried to construct a situation out of this one like this:

A couple pretending to be in a good relationship. Soon at Christmas, they had some quarrels. So in this case, the sentence means that their quarrels just mock their pretense (that they together were being happy) at peace.

Though I'm not particularly sure that that example is a good interpretation.

  • 1
    Your example is good. This is what it means. A pretense = one instance of pretending [that something is so.]
    – user81561
    Oct 22 at 8:25

1 Answer 1


Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill to all, so a family who are together for the holiday may pretend that they all get on well together even though there are underlying tensions between family members that sooner or later result in arguments breaking out.

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