under false pretences

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under false pretences

if you do something under false pretences, you do it when you have lied about who you are or what you are doing The police charged him with obtaining money under false pretences.
See sail under false colours
See also: false
References in classic literature ?
This would not do; she immediately stopped, under pretence of having some alteration to make in the lacing of her halfboot, and stooping down in complete occupation of the footpath, begged them to have the goodness to walk on, and she would follow in half a minute.
Now, for the purpose, therefore, of a romance that makes no pretence to reasonableness, I had very good reasons for buying that petticoat, which (the reasons, not the petticoat) I will now lay before you.
Notwithstanding the occasional exhortation and chiding of his companion, the noise of the horsemen's feet continuing to approach, Wamba could not be prevented from lingering occasionally on the road, upon every pretence which occurred; now catching from the hazel a cluster of half-ripe nuts, and now turning his head to leer after a cottage maiden who crossed their path.
Get the captain and squire down to the cabin, and then make some pretence to send for me.
That the said Quinbus Flestrin, having brought the imperial fleet of Blefuscu into the royal port, and being afterwards commanded by his imperial majesty to seize all the other ships of the said empire of Blefuscu, and reduce that empire to a province, to be governed by a viceroy from hence, and to destroy and put to death, not only all the Big-endian exiles, but likewise all the people of that empire who would not immediately forsake the Big-endian heresy, he, the said Flestrin, like a false traitor against his most auspicious, serene, imperial majesty, did petition to be excused from the said service, upon pretence of unwillingness to force the consciences, or destroy the liberties and lives of an innocent people.
This usage, with some differences we had with a Moor, made us very desirous of leaving this country, but we were still put off with one pretence or other whenever we asked leave to depart.
Don Fernando contrived always to read the letters I sent to Luscinda and her answers to me, under the pretence that he enjoyed the wit and sense of both.
I was persuaded from his manner that this ignorance was a pretence.
This king had many vices; but he would not permit blood to be shed, under pretence of religion, in any part of his dominions.
Under cover of a similar pretence, have the outrages and massacres at Tahiti the beautiful, the queen of the South Seas, been perpetrated.
There are families here who receive American and English people to live with them, under the pretence of teaching them French.
Well, yes," said Mrs Durbeyfield; and in a private tone, "at first there mid be a little pretence o't.
One "course," in a two-horse carriage, costs a franc--that is law--but the hackman always demands more, on some pretence or other, and if he gets it he makes a new demand.
I can but say in excuse of it that I am more accustomed to handle a rifle than a pen, and cannot make any pretence to the grand literary flights and flourishes which I see in novels--for sometimes I like to read a novel.
Both he and Philip had given up with relief the pretence of mathematics.