Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. verb To pretend. When I was a kid, I used to love to make believe I was an astronaut flying to Mars in my rocket ship, which was really a cardboard box. It's fun to make believe! You can be anyone you want!
2. noun Something imagined; something that does not exist in reality. In this usage, the term is usually hyphenated. The make-believe we engage in as children lays the foundation for our ability to be creative later in life. A lot of people dismiss these movies as simple make-believe, but they contain a very complex mythology. Are you telling the truth about what happened, or is this all just make-believe?
3. adjective Imagined or pretended. In this usage, the term is usually hyphenated. Do they really expect us to fall for these make-believe explanations?
Pretend, as in Let's make believe we're elves. This expression in effect means making oneself believe in an illusion. [Early 1700s]
make beˈlieve (that...)pretend (that...): The journey seemed like an attempt to make believe that the modern world didn’t exist. ♢ a world of fantasy and make-believe