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Definition of pretext:

  1. A pretence; an assumed reason, not the real one; a motive or reason assigned as a cover for concealing the real motive.

Synonyms:

semblance, cover, dissimulation, simulation, masquerade, color, window-dressing, mask, wile, guise, gloss, show, affectation, false colors, in justification of something, pretending, occasion, dissembling, disguise, pretense, make-believe, honest, cloak, motivation, disguisement, ground, seeming, front, feigning, motive, coloring, trick, assumption, subterfuge, stalking-horse, face, pretension, cause, point, veneer, Reason, veil, ruse, air, explain, pretence, put-on.

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