Definition of make-believe in English:

make-believe

noun

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

    ‘she's living in a world of make-believe’
    • ‘There's no fairy-tale involved like Midsummer Night's Dream where there's make-believe.’
    • ‘Of course all photography is illusion, all cinema make-believe.’
    • ‘I could play make-believe, pretend away all the pain.’
    • ‘This city is often described as one of dreams and fantasy, of tinselish make-believe.’
    • ‘The virtual, as associated with VR, is seen as a kind of pretend reality, or make-believe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The only option for survival is submerging oneself in an illusion of meaning, a world of make-believe.’
    • ‘I was angry with his seven-year game of make-believe.’
    • ‘The country's economy, too, was a land of make-believe.’
    • ‘So I think, Sir, that these stories are all make-believe; there are no kings and princes, or goblins or gold.’
    • ‘And she found within days that it was all just make-believe.’
    • ‘It must be nice to live in the land of make-believe.’
    • ‘Politicians and the media engage in sanctioned make-believe.’
    • ‘But I have learned the hard way that Superman is 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?’
    • ‘Well, that wasn't make-believe but a reality for one man, Timothy Treadwell.’
    • ‘The novelist instantly senses make-believe, and so do we.’
    • ‘Collect any piece of clothing or accessory that could lend itself to make-believe.’
    • ‘Compared to astrophotographs, images of computer simulations often seem like shabby make-believes.’
    • ‘Dreams and make-believes are all very well in the daytime and the sunshine, but when dark and storm come they fail to satisfy.’
    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.

    ‘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?’
    • ‘He faced a little bush and lifted his make-believe gun.’
    • ‘We spent days ‘shooting’ each other with our toy guns and kicking make-believe stirrups into imaginary horses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After this epiphany, she and Furii work to dismantle the fantasies of Deborah's make-believe world.’
    • ‘I liked to fill it with various objects represented the ‘equipment’ I'd need for my current make-believe mission.’
    • ‘It's a real-world situation in a make-believe town.’
    • ‘And the judge said ‘Guilty’ in a make-believe trial and slapped the sheriff on the back with a smile’
    • ‘It weakens their precarious hold on their make-believe world.’
    • ‘However, I am deeply concerned with what goes on within the REAL world not the make-believe one of Hollywood.’
    • ‘Which brings me back to that make-believe laundry pile and my own lesson: uncovering a life purpose by defining my values.’
    • ‘But the 42-year-old Cruise shrugs it off as just another make-believe soul that grabbed him.’
    • ‘I'm not dead, just living in a make-believe world right now.’
    • ‘This is when hundreds of communists and non-communists ‘confessed’ to make-believe crimes in show trials.’
    • ‘There is an interesting story here - in fact, the only story of Mai that isn't make-believe.’
    • ‘And those of us who actually make up that make-believe market share?’
    • ‘If only I could have lived in that make-believe world where a mother displayed her affection for her daughter without hesitation.’
    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

[no object]
  • Pretend; imagine.

    ‘you can make-believe you're swimming out in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean’
    • ‘I was knocking them together gently, make-believing that they were real entities, locked in fisticuffs, a classic battle of good versus evil.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Children know how to imagine and make-believe, and how to play.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Whether he or she is an outgoing sailor or a free spirited pirate we have the supplies to keep them make-believing.’
    • ‘But I make-believed the dyno and tried the mantle… and did it!’
    • ‘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’.’
    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

/ˈmeɪkbɪliːv/