E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A pretence. From the Latin prtexta, a dress embroidered in the frontworn by the Roman magistrates, priests, and children of the aristocracy between the age of thirteen and seventeen. The prtextat were dramas in which actors personated those who wore the prætexta; hence persons who pretend to be what they are not.