Word of the Day: bluff

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Word of the Day
February 9, 2016
bluff (verb, noun, adjective) sound LISTEN icon
Bluffing is an important element of poker.

As a verb, bluff means 'to deceive someone by acting as if you are confident.' A bluff is the act of bluffing or, in American English, a person who bluffs (in British English, such a person would be called a bluffer). As an adjective, bluff is used to refer to a direct and honest way of speaking.


Example sentences

  • That guy at the bar told me that he is a lawyer but I don't believe him. I think he's bluffing.
  • Her new boyfriend is just a bluff! I don't believe a thing he says.
  • Bruno pretends to know it all but I think his behavior is just a bluff.
  • Mr. Mendes has a bluff way of addressing students and they all like him.
Words often used with bluff

call someone's bluff: challenge someone to do something they said they could do. Example: "Tom said he could beat anyone at arm wrestling, but Sally called his bluff when she challenged him. She beat him easily!"

bluff it out: keep up a pretense to deal with a difficult situation. Example: "The boss didn't believe I was really sick, but I managed to bluff it out and I convinced her in the end."

Did you know?
Being able to bluff is an important skill in poker, where winning is not so much about the cards you have but your ability to convince your opponents that you can beat them.
Other forms
bluffness (noun), bluffer (noun), bluffly (adverb), bluffable (adjective)
Bluff first appeared as a verb in the mid to late 17th century and comes from the Low German word bluffen, meaning 'to bluster or frighten'; it is similar to the Middle Dutch word bluffen, meaning 'to make a trick at cards.'
Other info
Bluff is also a very steep cliff.
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