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[bluhf] /blʌf/
adjective, bluffer, bluffest.
good-naturedly direct, blunt, or frank; heartily outspoken:
a big, bluff, generous man.
presenting a bold and nearly perpendicular front, as a coastline:
a bluff, precipitous headland.
Nautical. (of the bow of a vessel) having a full, blunt form.
a cliff, headland, or hill with a broad, steep face.
North Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Canadian Prairie Provinces. a clump or grove of trees on a prairie or other generally treeless area.
Origin of bluff1
1620-30; perhaps < Middle Low German blaff smooth, even, or < Middle Dutch blaf broad, flat
Related forms
bluffly, adverb
bluffness, noun
1. forthright, open, honest; rough, crude. 2. abrupt, steep.
1. subtle.
Synonym Study
1. See blunt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bluffer
Historical Examples
  • "One last bluff of a bluffer, as Hilda would say," she muttered.

    Young Hilda at the Wars

    Arthur Gleason
  • Olaf the Swede is after you on account o the gal, I blunted; and he aint no bluffer.

    Friar Tuck Robert Alexander Wason
  • "Jab him, Casey; he's only a bluffer," said several of his companions.

    Cattle-Ranch to College Russell Doubleday
  • I thought Bill wasn't dead: you're just a bluffer, ain't you, Bill?

    The Great Gold Rush

    W. H. P. (William Henry Pope) Jarvis
  • I was only trying to keep up to my reputation and name as a bluffer.

  • He is energetic, self confident, amiable, and a particularly able bluffer when occasion demands it.

  • A bluffer, he has a sneaking respect for anyone who throws a bluff and gets away with it.

    My Actor-Husband Anonymous
  • That a man who habitually clears his throat before he speaks is generally a self-important hypocrite and a bluffer.

    The American Credo George Jean Nathan
  • To bluff, unchanged in form, takes on the new meaning of to lie: a bluffer is a liar.

    The American Language Henry L. Mencken
  • You will perceive that Copperhead Camp was no place for a coward or a bluffer or a bully.

    West Wind Drift George Barr McCutcheon
British Dictionary definitions for bluffer


to pretend to be confident about an uncertain issue or to have undisclosed resources, in order to influence or deter (someone)
deliberate deception intended to create the impression of a stronger position or greater resources than one actually has
call someone's bluff, to challenge someone to give proof of his claims
Derived Forms
bluffer, noun
Word Origin
C19: originally US poker-playing term, from Dutch bluffen to boast


a steep promontory, bank, or cliff, esp one formed by river erosion on the outside bend of a meander
(Canadian) a clump of trees on the prairie; copse
good-naturedly frank and hearty
(of a bank, cliff, etc) presenting a steep broad face
Derived Forms
bluffly, adverb
bluffness, noun
Word Origin
C17 (in the sense: nearly perpendicular): perhaps from Middle Dutch blaf broad
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bluffer



1839, American English, poker term, perhaps from Dutch bluffen "to brag, boast," or verbluffen "to baffle, mislead." An identical word meant "blindfold, hoodwink" in 1670s, but the sense evolution and connection are unclear; OED calls it "one of the numerous cant terms ... which arose between the Restoration and the reign of Queen Anne." Extended or figurative sense by 1854. Related: Bluffed; bluffing.



"broad, vertical cliff," 1680s, from bluff (adj.) "with a broad, flat front" (1620s), a sailors' word, probably from Dutch blaf "flat, broad." Apparently a North Sea nautical term for ships with flat vertical bows, later extended to landscape features.



1844 as an alternative name for poker; from bluff (v.). As "an act of bluffing" by 1864.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bluffer



: His courage was all bluff •A noun sense fr 1849 is ''an excuse'' (1870s+)


To use confident pretense as a means of winning or succeeding •The 1674 definition is ''to blindfold or hoodwink''; the game of poker was originally known as bluff (1670s+)

Related Terms

call someone's bluff

[perhaps related to, though not derived fr, a late 1700s bluff, ''a blindfold or blinker for a horse'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bluffer
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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