What does the word pretext mean?

Usage examples for pretext

  1. Sometimes he dispensed with a pretext, and sent a messenger to the hut of the doomed man to tell him the king wanted him. – Impressions of South Africa by James Bryce
  2. At the door, however, Elaine asked her to wait while she ran back on some pretext. – The Exploits of Elaine by Arthur B. Reeve
  3. Such a pretext would be easily found, because, as Don John had accepted the government, " it would be necessary for him to do all which the rascals bade him." – Project Gutenberg History of The Netherlands, 1555-1623, Complete by John Lothrop Motley
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