- to mislead by a display of strength, self-confidence, or the like: He bluffed me into believing that he was a doctor.
- to gain by bluffing: He bluffed his way into the job.
- Poker. to deceive by a show of confidence in the strength of one's cards.
- to mislead someone by presenting a bold, strong, or self-confident front: That open face makes it impossible for him to bluff.
- an act or instance or the practice of bluffing: Her pathetic story was all a bluff to get money from us. His assertive manner is mostly bluff.
- a person who bluffs; bluffer: That big bluff doesn't have a nickel to his name.
- call someone's bluff, to expose a person's deception; challenge someone to carry out a threat: He always said he would quit, so we finally called his bluff.
Origin of bluff2
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordspretend, delude, fool, lie, humbug, shuck, sham, feign, snow, trick, beguile, mislead, simulate, fake, affect, juggle, counterfeit, betray, defraud, con
Examples from the Web for bluffing
Nor would the dangers end there even if Obama were not bluffing; Putin might think he was bluffing anyway and start a war.Obama Must Show He’ll Use Military Means to Deter Russia in Ukraine
Leslie H. Gelb
March 30, 2014
As menacing as those automatic rifles were, I felt the Somalis were bluffing.‘You Have 30 Seconds’: The Real Captain Phillips’s Gripping Memoir
Captain Richard Phillips, Stephan Talty
October 11, 2013
Even a bluffing superpower can be forced to ante up ... or perhaps fold as casualties mount and treasury accounts go bust.War Is the New Peace: American Vets Reflect on Syria
John Kael Weston
September 10, 2013
It may sound absurd at first flush, but politics and poker have a lot more than just bluffing in common.What Politicians Can Learn at the World Series of Poker
July 13, 2013
Jonathan Chait thinks Speaker Boehner is bluffing on allowing the sequestration to take place.What's Boehner's Plan, Ctd?
January 7, 2013
You fancy a chap's bluffing when he's doing nothing of the sort.Ruggles of Red Gap
Harry Leon Wilson
I think he saw that I meant exactly what I said—and I was not bluffing.The Death-Traps of FX-31
Sewell Peaslee Wright
They got somebody, or else they were only bluffing when they waved that scalp.Warrior Gap
Not bluffing exactly, either, because they'll go through with it as long as they last.Triplanetary
Edward Elmer Smith
Come right on to the shore, then, and don't try any bluffing.The Grammar School Boys Snowbound
H. Irving Hancock
- 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
- 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
Word Origin and History for bluffing
1845, in the poker sense, verbal noun from bluff (v.).
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.
Idioms and Phrases with bluffing
see call someone's bluff.