bluff

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See also: Bluff

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Dutch bluffen (to brag), from Middle Dutch bluffen (to make something swell; to bluff); or from the Dutch noun bluf (bragging).

Noun[edit]

bluff (countable and uncountable, plural bluffs)

  1. An act of bluffing; a false expression of the strength of one's position in order to intimidate; braggadocio.
    That is only bluff, or a bluff.
  2. (poker) An attempt to represent oneself as holding a stronger hand than they actually do.
    John's bet was a bluff: he bet without even so much as a pair.
  3. (US, dated) The card game poker.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bartlett to this entry?)
  4. One who bluffs; a bluffer.
  5. (slang, dated) An excuse.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

bluff (third-person singular simple present bluffs, present participle bluffing, simple past and past participle bluffed)

  1. (poker) To make a bluff; to give the impression that one's hand is stronger than it is.
    John bluffed by betting without even a pair.
  2. (by analogy) To frighten or deter with a false show of strength or confidence; to give a false impression of strength or temerity in order to intimidate and gain some advantage.
    The government claims it will call an election if this bill does not pass. Is it truly ready to do so, or is it bluffing?
  3. To take advantage by bluffing.
    We bluffed our way past the guards.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Related to Middle Low German blaff, "smooth".

Noun[edit]

bluff (plural bluffs)

  1. A high, steep bank, for example by a river or the sea, or beside a ravine or plain; a cliff with a broad face.
  2. (Canadian Prairies) A small wood or stand of trees, typically poplar or willow.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

bluff (comparative bluffer, superlative bluffest)

  1. Having a broad, flattened front.
    the bluff bows of a ship
  2. Rising steeply with a flat or rounded front.
    • Falconer
      a bluff or bold shore
    • Judd
      Its banks, if not really steep, had a bluff and precipitous aspect.
  3. Surly; churlish; gruff; rough.
  4. Roughly frank and hearty in one's manners.
    a bluff answer; a bluff manner of talking; a bluff sea captain
    • I. Taylor
      There is indeed a bluff pertinacity which is a proper defence in a moment of surprise.
    Synonyms: abrupt, unceremonious, blunt, brusque
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Possibly onomatopoeic, perhaps related to blow and puff.[1]

Verb[edit]

bluff (third-person singular simple present bluffs, present participle bluffing, simple past and past participle bluffed)

  1. To fluff, puff or swell up.
    • 1866, Grantley F[itzhardinge] Berkeley, “Incidents of Sport”, in My Life and Recollections. [...] Complete in Four Volumes, volume III, London: Hurst and Blackett, publishers, successors to Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 800511811, page 124:
      Not a sparrow on the cottage thatch, where the chimney's warmth had thawed the snow, that did not seem to have his great coat on, so bluffed out were the feathers, and not a frozen-out duck who did not glance up at the icicles hanging to the roof, and quack a prayer for rain.
    • 1870, Grantley F[itzhardinge] Berkeley, “The Fair Doe of Fernditch”, in Tales of Life and Death. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Chapman and Hall, [], OCLC 21730127, page 117:
      [W]hen the bare boughs of a tree intervened between her and the rising bright but deep red sun, frosted as the twigs were, on them sat a merry flock of sparrows, the feathers on their breasts bluffed out, as if they had donned warm winter spencers to shield them from the biting blast.
    • 2002, Nick Fowler, “Sunday in the Park with Sores”, in A Thing (or Two) about Curtis and Camilla, New York, N.Y.: Pantheon Books, →ISBN; 1st Vintage Contemporaries edition, New York, N.Y.: Vintage Books, June 2003, →ISBN, pages 285–286:
      I remember one idle bright afternoon here when Phillip bluffed out his little chest, sneaking expectant glances back at me and Cammy, until she "restrained" him from bickering with that beagle.

References[edit]

  1. ^ James A. H. Murray [et al.], editor (1884–1928), “Bluff, v.2”, in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), volume I (A–B), London: Clarendon Press, OCLC 15566697, page 947, column 1.

Further reading[edit]


Danish[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English bluff.

Noun[edit]

bluff n

  1. bluff

Related terms[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English bluff.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

bluff m (plural bluffs)

  1. (chiefly card games) bluff

Further reading[edit]


Swedish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English bluff.

Noun[edit]

bluff c

  1. a bluff

Declension[edit]

Declension of bluff 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative bluff bluffen bluffar bluffarna
Genitive bluffs bluffens bluffars bluffarnas

Related terms[edit]