You answered me with no pretense


I checked the definition but I still don't really get it. What would be another way of saying this?

closed as off topic by user2683, MetaEd, Robusto, tchrist, Matt E. Эллен Dec 13 '12 at 11:05

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  • Off topic (literature analysis). Lyrics are especially problematic because the use of poetic license means the value of the answer you get is likely to be very localized. – MetaEd Dec 12 '12 at 23:29

Let me rephrase it:

"You answered me frankly and honestly".


"You answered me with no caution and no trick".

It must have hurt him while its said in the above verse: "I spoke to you in cautious tones" and he means here she has oppositely answered with no caution and probably frankly.

Check the definition from here. Checking Merriam-Webster for this word may not easily lead you to the answer you need!


I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense
(Billy Joel)

Analysis of literature is off-topic, but...

- an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true
- the practice of inventing imaginary situations in play
- affected and ostentatious speech and behaviour

Any of those might do, but the first is most likely. Synonyms might be guile, deception, deceit, untruth, feigning, insincerity...

One reason this sort of thing is off-topic is because metre and rhyme can force language into unnatural contortions; here, using pretense is necessary to rhyme with defense, but either it's not really the best word because it's so vague and it's difficult to know what the author meant, or it's exactly the right word because it's so vague and it's difficult to know what the author meant.

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