Pretext & Pretense
Pretext is a false reason given to conceal a truth, and comes from a word meaning “to weave, before, pretend.” Think of a pretext as having “texture, a cloth, a cover-up.” Dana told everyone she was laid off because of the economy but she was really fired. She never said she was laid off, but she acted as if that was the case, then promptly changed the subject.
Pretense comes from a word meaning alleged. Pretense is usually an unsupported claim, often about an accomplishment; it’s make-believe, a false show or profession. AP Stylebook 2014 says pretense is a more overt act intended to conceal personal feelings.
Pretext, then, is often used to hide the truth, while pretense is commonly used to stretch the truth.