Learner's definition of PRETEXT
a reason that you give to hide your real reason for doing something
The leaders used a minor clash at the border as a pretext for war. [=as a reason/excuse for starting a war]
She always managed to visit him on one pretext or another. [=she found various reasons to visit him]
She went back to her friend's house on/under the pretext that she had forgotten her purse.