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  1. Taken by previous supposition; grounded on probable evidence.
  2. Unreasonably confident; adventuring without reasonable ground to expect success; presumptuous; arrogant. – Brown. Presumptive evidence, in law, is that which is derived from circumstances which necessarily or usually attend a fact, as distinct from direct evidence or positive proof. Presumptive evidence of felony should be cautiously admitted. – Blackstone. Presumptive heir, one who would inherit an estate if the ancestor should die with things in their present state, but whose right of inheritance may be defeated by the birth of a nearer heir before the death of the ancestor. Thus the presumptive succession of a brother or nephew may be destroyed by the birth of a child. Presumptive heir is distinguished from heir apparent, whose right of inheritance is indefeasible, provided he outlives the ancestor. – Blackstone.


By presumption, or supposition grounded on probability. – Burke.

PRE-SUMP'TU-OUS, a. [Fr. presomptueux; It. and Sp. presuntuoso.]

  1. Bold and confident to excess; adventuring without reasonable ground of success; hazarding safety on too light grounds; rash; applied to persons; as, a presumptuous commander. There is a class of presumptuous men whom age has not made cautious, nor adversity wise. – Buckminster.
  2. Founded on presumption; proceeding from excess of confidence; applied to things; as, presumptuous hope. – Milton.
  3. Arrogant; insolent; as, a presumptuous priest. – Shak. Presumptuous pride. – Dryden.
  4. Unduly confident; irreverent with respect to sacred things.
  5. Willful; done with bold design, rash confidence or in violation of known duty; as, a presumptuous sin.


  1. With rush confidence.
  2. Arrogantly; insolently.
  3. Willfully; bold defiance of conscience or violation of known duty; as, to sin presumptuously. – Num. xv.
  4. With groundless and vain confidence in the divine favor. – Hammond.


The quality or being presumptuous or rashly confident; groundless confidence; arrogance; irreverent boldness or forwardness.

PRE-SUP-PO-SAL, n. [presuppo'zul. pre and supposal.]

Supposal previously formed; presupposition. – Hooker.

PRE-SUP-POSE, v.t. [presuppo'ze; Fr. presupposer; It. presupporre; Eng. pre and suppose.]

To suppose as previous; to imply as antecedent. The existence of created things presupposes the existence of a Creator. Each kind of knowledge presupposes many necessary things learned in other sciences and known beforehand. – Hooker.


Supposed to be antecedent.


Supposing to be previous.


  1. Supposition previously formed.
  2. Supposition of something antecedent.

PRE-SUR-MISE, n. [presurmi'ze; pre and surmise.]

A surmise previously formed. – Shak.

PRE-TEND', v.t.1 [L. prætendo; præ, before, and tendo, to tend, to reach or stretch; Fr. pretendre; It. pretendere; Sp. pretender.]

  1. Literally, to reach or stretch forward; used by Dryden, but this use is not well authorized.
  2. To hold out, as a false appearance; to offer something feigned instead of that which is real; to simulate, in words or actions. This let him know, / Lest willfully transgressing, he pretend / Surprisal. – Milton.
  3. To show hypocritically; as, to pretend great zeal when the heart is not engaged; to pretend patriotism for the sake of gaining popular applause or obtaining an office.
  4. To exhibit as a cover for something hidden. Lest that too heavenly form, pretended / To hellish falsehood, snare them. [Not in use.] – Milton.
  5. To claim. Chiefs shall be grudg'd the part which they pretend. – Dryden. In this sense, we generally use pretend to.
  6. To intend; to design. [Not used.] – Spenser.

PRE-TEND', v.t.2

To put in a claim, truly or falsely; to hold out the appearance of being, possessing or performing. A man may pretend to be a physician, and pretend to perform great cures. Bad men often pretend to be patriots.


  1. Held out, as a false appearance; feigned; simulated.
  2. adj. Ostensible; hypocritical; as, a pretended reason or motive; pretended zeal.


By false appearance or representation. – Hammond.


  1. One who makes a show of something not real; one who lays claim to any thing.
  2. In English history, the heir of the royal family of Stuart, who lays claim to the crown of Great Britain, but is excluded by law. – Burnet.


The right or claim of the pretender. – Swift.


Holding out a false appearance; laying claim to, or attempting to make others believe one is what in truth he is not, or that he has or does something which he has or does not; making hypocritical professions.


Arrogantly; presumptuously.

PRE-TENSE, n. [pretens'; L. prætensus, prætendo.]

  1. A holding out or offering to others something false or feigned; a presenting to others, either in words or actions, a false or hypocritical appearance, usually with a view to conceal what is real, and thus to deceive. Under pretense of giving liberty to nations, the prince conquered and enslaved them. Under pretense of patriotism, ambitious men serve their own selfish purposes. Let not Trojans, with a feigned pretense / Of proffer'd peace, delude the Latian prince. – Dryden. It is sometimes preceded by on; as, on pretense of revenging Cesar's death.
  2. Assumption; claim to notice. Never was any thing of this pretense more ingeniously imparted. – Evelyn.
  3. Claim, true or false. Primogeniture can not have any pretense to a right of solely inheriting property or power. – Locke.
  4. Something held out to terrify or for other purpose; as, a pretense of danger. – Shak.


Pretended; feigned; as, a pretensed right to land. [Little used.] – Encyc.

PRE-TEN'SION, n. [It. pretensione; Fr. pretention.]

  1. Claim, true or false; a holding out the appearance of right or possession of a thing, with a view to make others believe what is not real, or what, if true, is not yet known or admitted. A man may make pretensions to rights which he run not maintain; he may make pretensions to skill which he does not possess; and he may make pretensions to skill or acquirements which he really possesses, but which he is not known to possess. Hence we speak of ill founded pretensions, and well founded pretensions.
  2. Claim to something to be obtained, or a desire to obtain something, manifested by words or actions. Any citizen may have pretensions to the honor of representing the state in the senate or house of representatives. The commons demand that the consulship should lie in common to the pretensions of any Roman. – Swift. Men indulge those opinions and practices that favor their pretensions. – L'Estrange.
  3. Fictitious appearance; a Latin phrase, not now used. This was but an invention and pretension given out by the Spaniards. – Bacon.

PRE-TENT'A-TIVE, a. [L. præ and tento, to try.]

That may be previously tried or attempted. [Little used.] – Bacon.

PRE'TER, prep. [PRE'TER-]

A Latin preposition, præter, is used in some English words as a prefix. Its proper signification is beyond, hence, beside, more.

PRE'TER-IM-PER'FECT, a. [beyond or beside unfinished.]

In grammar, designating the tense which expresses action or being not perfectly past; an awkward epithet very ill applied.