Definition of make-believe in US English:

make-believe

noun

  • The action of pretending or imagining that things are better than they really are.

    ‘she's living in a world of make-believe’
    • ‘Of course all photography is illusion, all cinema make-believe.’
    • ‘In fact, has not experience taught us that adults are more susceptible to make-believe than children, and far more skilled at creating it?’
    • ‘So I think, Sir, that these stories are all make-believe; there are no kings and princes, or goblins or gold.’
    • ‘Well, that wasn't make-believe but a reality for one man, Timothy Treadwell.’
    • ‘I was angry with his seven-year game of make-believe.’
    • ‘Collect any piece of clothing or accessory that could lend itself to make-believe.’
    • ‘Politicians and the media engage in sanctioned make-believe.’
    • ‘The country's economy, too, was a land of make-believe.’
    • ‘The only option for survival is submerging oneself in an illusion of meaning, a world of make-believe.’
    • ‘And she found within days that it was all just make-believe.’
    • ‘This city is often described as one of dreams and fantasy, of tinselish make-believe.’
    • ‘Dreams and make-believes are all very well in the daytime and the sunshine, but when dark and storm come they fail to satisfy.’
    • ‘That's really how it began: me playing make-believe in front of the house, shooting at an imaginary basket with a ball of rags.’
    • ‘There's no fairy-tale involved like Midsummer Night's Dream where there's make-believe.’
    • ‘I could play make-believe, pretend away all the pain.’
    • ‘It must be nice to live in the land of make-believe.’
    • ‘The novelist instantly senses make-believe, and so do we.’
    • ‘Compared to astrophotographs, images of computer simulations often seem like shabby make-believes.’
    • ‘The virtual, as associated with VR, is seen as a kind of pretend reality, or make-believe.’
    • ‘But I have learned the hard way that Superman is make-believe.’
    fantasy, pretence, pretending, daydreaming, dreaming, imagination, invention, fancy, dream, unreality, romancing, fabrication, play-acting, charade, masquerade, self-deception, illusion, delusion
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adjective

  • Imitating something real; pretend.

    ‘he was firing a make-believe gun at the spy planes’
    • ‘Are they all totally imaginary, inspired by real people, or just an amalgam of the make-believe world and the real one?’
    • ‘In the beginning of the story, Mia is in Genovia, the make-believe country that seems so real.’
    • ‘He turned his hand in to the shape of a gun and he pulled the make-believe trigger towards my head.’
    • ‘He faced a little bush and lifted his make-believe gun.’
    • ‘But the 42-year-old Cruise shrugs it off as just another make-believe soul that grabbed him.’
    • ‘She threw my make-believe corpse into a real open grave while I haunted.’
    • ‘The media and the Democrats sustain each other's make-believe land.’
    • ‘Which brings me back to that make-believe laundry pile and my own lesson: uncovering a life purpose by defining my values.’
    • ‘However, I am deeply concerned with what goes on within the REAL world not the make-believe one of Hollywood.’
    • ‘If only I could have lived in that make-believe world where a mother displayed her affection for her daughter without hesitation.’
    • ‘It's a real-world situation in a make-believe town.’
    • ‘I liked to fill it with various objects represented the ‘equipment’ I'd need for my current make-believe mission.’
    • ‘After this epiphany, she and Furii work to dismantle the fantasies of Deborah's make-believe world.’
    • ‘It weakens their precarious hold on their make-believe world.’
    • ‘I'm not dead, just living in a make-believe world right now.’
    • ‘And the judge said ‘Guilty’ in a make-believe trial and slapped the sheriff on the back with a smile’
    • ‘And those of us who actually make up that make-believe market share?’
    • ‘We spent days ‘shooting’ each other with our toy guns and kicking make-believe stirrups into imaginary horses.’
    • ‘There is an interesting story here - in fact, the only story of Mai that isn't make-believe.’
    • ‘This is when hundreds of communists and non-communists ‘confessed’ to make-believe crimes in show trials.’
    imaginary, imagined, pretended, made-up, fantasy, fantasized, fancied, dream, dreamed-up, unreal, fanciful, fictitious, fictive, mythical, feigned, fake, mock, sham, simulated, pseudo, false, spurious
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verb

  • Pretend; imagine.

    with clause ‘Brenda rode along, make-believing she was a knight riding to the rescue’
    • ‘As long as they stayed out of NATO's hair, that is, the Russians could go on make-believing that they were playing a crucial role in the occupation of Kosovo.’
    • ‘But at the same time, you're all playing it with me and make-believing your own reality… that's what imagination is for by the way.’
    • ‘Whether he or she is an outgoing sailor or a free spirited pirate we have the supplies to keep them make-believing.’
    • ‘I was knocking them together gently, make-believing that they were real entities, locked in fisticuffs, a classic battle of good versus evil.’
    • ‘Children know how to imagine and make-believe, and how to play.’
    • ‘But I make-believed the dyno and tried the mantle… and did it!’
    • ‘When the teens were younger they used to play a game, where they would make-believe that they all lived in the royal palace in the middle of the city.’
    • ‘The tea parties were make-believed but the talks and the memories were real.’
    • ‘The dark-haired child gave way to her sister's commands, slinking to the base of the stone pedestal that would be make-believed into a high and impenetrable lair.’
    • ‘Two Czech students hoodwinked the media and most of Prague by the look of it, make-believing that they were building a hypermarket and shopping precinct.’
    • ‘Whilst we were running down there was a ‘roar from the crowd’ and Tom Courtney walked along the road behind us and make-believed the ‘roar’ was from the crowd at a Nuremburg rally saluting him’.’
    • ‘Nigel Hadgkiss can make-believe all he wants in the Tool Shed this week while he protects the murderers in the industry, all he's done so far is make Inspector Clouseau look like Perry Mason.’
    pretend, fantasize, indulge in fantasy, daydream, build castles in the air, build castles in spain, dream, imagine, romance, fancy, play-act, play
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Pronunciation

make-believe

/ˈmeɪkbəˌliv//ˈmākbəˌlēv/