Pretext
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British pronunciation/pɹˈiːtɛkst/
American pronunciation/ˈpɹiˌtɛkst/
01

a false reason or excuse given to justify an action or behavior, hiding the true motive behind it

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02

an artful or simulated semblance

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Example
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The company used budgetary concerns as a pretext to lay off employees, but the real motive was to increase profitability.
She used a family emergency as a pretext to leave the party early, but her friends suspected she simply wasn't enjoying herself.
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Meaning of "Pretext"
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