claim or aspiration to a particular status or quality
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Pretension is a claim or aspiration to a particular status or quality.
- True glory strikes root, and even extends itself; all false pretensions fall as do flowers, nor can anything feigned be lasting.
- Cicero, as quoted in Great Catches; or, Grand Matches (1861) by Eleanor Frances Blakiston, p. 82
- I cannot consent with the Radical party to obliterate a glorious past, nor can I consent with the Conservatives to prolong abuses into the present. I wish with all my heart to aid in securing all that is good for the masses, yet to give them all they wish and are striving for is to endanger much that is good beyond their comprehension. I cannot pretend to underestimate the good that the English monarchy and aristocracy, with all the liberal policy actuating it, does for the human race, and yet I cannot but fear the pretensions of democracy against it are strong, and in some respects properly strong. This antithesis and struggle, perhaps, after all, is no more than has always more or less existed, but is now becoming more marked. Compromise, perhaps, is the only resource. Those who rightly possess the power in virtue of their superior knowledge must yield up some, that they may carry with them the honest but uncertain wills of those less educated but more numerous and physically powerful.
- Pretend what we may, the whole man within us is at work when we form our philosophical opinions. Intellect, will, taste, and passion co-operate just as they do in practical affairs; and lucky it is if the passion be not something as petty as a love of personal conquest over the philosopher across the way.
- William James, in The Sentiment of Rationality (1882)
- The desire of appearing clever often prevents our becoming so.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Maxim 199, as quoted in Great Truths by Great Authors (1856), p. 422
- Where there is much pretension, much has been borrowed: nature never pretends.
- Johann Kaspar Lavater, as quoted in Mental Recreation; or, Select Maxims (1831), p. 234