There are 3 definitions of bluff in English:

bluff1

Line breaks: bluff
Pronunciation: /blʌf
 
/

noun

An attempt to deceive someone into believing that one can or is going to do something: the offer was denounced as a bluff [mass noun]: his game of bluff
More example sentences
  • This over-reaction is of course a bluff, an attempt to silence opposition, almost suggesting that these practices, reprehensible to me, are necessary for secular democracy.
  • His denunciation of my research is an audacious bluff, believable only by those who have never opened my book.
  • She glanced off the platform and then back at him, hoping that he would believe her bluff and cough up the money.
Synonyms
deception, subterfuge, pretence, sham, fake, show, deceit, false show, idle boast, feint, delusion, hoax, fraud, masquerade, charade; trick, stratagem, ruse, manoeuvre, scheme, artifice, machination; humbug, bluster, bombast, bragging
Irish informal codology
informal put-on, put-up job, kidology

verb

[no object] Back to top  
1Try to deceive someone as to one’s abilities or intentions: he’s been bluffing all along they bluffed their way past the sentries [with object]: the object is to bluff your opponent into submission
More example sentences
  • However, it is entirely legal to try to mislead the opponents about your intentions by bluffing in the bidding, naming a contract completely different from the one you really want to play.
  • Both their livelihoods depend on the ability to bluff and sniff out fraud.
  • Now it seems he may have been bluffing all along, thus the efficacy of such a coalition seems doubtful.
Synonyms
pretend, sham, fake, feign, put on an act, put it on, lie, hoax, pose, posture, masquerade, dissemble, dissimulate
informal kid
deceive, delude, mislead, trick, fool, hoodwink, dupe, hoax, take in, beguile, humbug, bamboozle, gull, cheat
vulgar slang bullshit
archaic cozen
1.1 (bluff it out) Survive a difficult situation by maintaining a pretence: there’s no point in trying to bluff it out
More example sentences
  • But the teenager bluffed it out by claiming his date of birth was wrong on his call-up papers, which had been prepared ahead of his birthday.
  • She had lied like a child and when interviewed, she persisted and bluffed it out even when told the professor had denied knowing her.
  • ‘There is no doubt that if he continues to live in west Belfast, life could be made very unpleasant for him, but given his past and his knowledge of internal security methods, he probably thinks he can bluff it out,’ the source said.

Origin

late 17th century (originally in the sense 'blindfold, hoodwink'): from Dutch bluffen 'brag', or bluf 'bragging'. The current sense (originally US, mid 19th century) originally referred to bluffing in the game of poker.

Phrases

call someone's bluff

1Challenge someone to carry out a stated intention, in the expectation of being able to expose it as a pretence: she was tempted to call his bluff, hardly believing he’d carry out his threat
More example sentences
  • I called his bluff, expecting him to laugh - to turn around and leave.
  • He had called her bluff, and she had met his challenge head on.
  • For these emotions to work, they must have a kind of inevitability built into them, such that, when someone calls your bluff, you cannot avoid carrying out your promise or threat.
2(In poker or brag) make an opponent show their hand in order to reveal that its value is weaker than their heavy betting suggests.
More example sentences
  • I'm just a little disappointed that it went this far to play poker and to have someone call your bluff.
  • One company has called the other's bluff and laid down on the table four Kings - four of a kind.
  • When not daring an opponent to call his bluff, he seduced them.

Derivatives

bluffer

noun
More example sentences
  • You will also know, as any runner does, that the session has to be completed and, unlike the bluffers who make up the ranks of the political intelligentsia, you do something on a daily basis that is objectively measured.
  • On the whole, though, this is either a specialist release for real dancehall heads or a bluffer's guide for those wanting to get into the scene.
  • Never mind, now you can hold your own in scholarly conversation by using this handy bluffer's guide to one of the world's toughest novels.

Definition of bluff in:

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Word of the day glee
Pronunciation: glē
noun
great delight

There are 3 definitions of bluff in English:

bluff2

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Pronunciation: /blʌf
 
/

adjective

Direct in speech or behaviour but in a good-natured way: a big, bluff, hearty man
More example sentences
  • Matching his rugged features he cultivated a bluff manner, parading humble origins and ridiculing a man who corrected his accent.
  • He flattered his clients on their excellent judgment in buying from him rather than his competitors, but he could be bluff and straightforward when necessary.
  • HE'S the gruff, bluff detective who's as likely to bawl you out for making bad tea as to snap the handcuffs on a villain - so would you let him loose in a fighter jet?
Synonyms
plain-spoken, straightforward, blunt, direct, no-nonsense, frank, open, candid, outspoken, to the point, forthright, unequivocal, downright, hearty; rough, abrupt, curt, gruff, short, brusque, not afraid to call a spade a spade, speaking as one finds; genial, approachable, good-natured, friendly

Origin

early 18th century (in the sense 'surly, abrupt in manner'): figurative use of bluff3. The current positive connotation dates from the early 19th century.

Derivatives

bluffly

adverb
More example sentences
  • Then, to the surgeons surrounding him, he said bluffly, ‘If I'd gotten this much attention in Hollywood, I would never have left.’
  • The group is fronted by a man who makes bluffly disparaging comments about ‘teenage rebellion’ and ‘plastic palm trees'.
  • The head surgeon jokes bluffly, and a few people chuff or make the facsimile of laughter, to appease him.

bluffness

noun
More example sentences
  • He was no fan of the writer, perhaps in part because he saw in him an image of his own romantic emotivism and self-conscious idiosyncratic bluffness.
  • ‘We have to win,’ the Scotland coach affirms with a bluffness which only Australians can pull off.
  • His eccentricities included a penchant for gigantic pith helmets and a bluffness of expression that bordered on the Python-esque.

Definition of bluff in:

There are 3 definitions of bluff in English:

bluff3

Line breaks: bluff
Pronunciation: /blʌf
 
/

noun

1A steep cliff, bank, or promontory.
More example sentences
  • Planning the campaign involved myriad geographical factors, including the Mississippi Delta region, streams of various navigabilities, steep banks, and bluffs northeast of the city.
  • The East Coast consists of several narrow bands of lowlands that lead to an intermediate zone of steep bluffs and ravines abutting a 1650 foot escarpment which provides access to the central highlands.
  • The Marin Headlands, the dramatic bluffs and canyons just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, are a perspective-altering place.
Synonyms
cliff, ridge, promontory, headland, crag, bank, slope, height, peak, escarpment, scarp, precipice, rock face, overhang
rare eminence
2Canadian A grove or clump of trees.
More example sentences
  • A couple of miles north and south the trees thicken up and the farms all have bluffs of trees on them so it is quite scenic.
  • The sun is just starting to illuminate the horizon of a cloud-laden sky and the dragons are behind a bluff of trees right on the city limits.
  • Outcrops of the Prairie Grove often form bluffs and exhibit low - angle, trough cross-bedding.

adjective

Back to top  
(Of a cliff or a ship’s bows) having a vertical or steep broad front.
More example sentences
  • Half the barges were away, already sweeping downriver with thin, white mustaches under their bluff bows, when a commotion awoke ashore.
  • This attached vortex force is the source of pressure drag on a bluff body, such as a sphere or a flat plate normal to a steady flow.
  • The stark rock, fading lower green fields, and deep blue of the ocean comes as a shock after the flat lush landscape and bluff coastline that characterises the rest of the county.

Origin

early 17th century (as an adjective, originally in nautical use): of unknown origin.

Definition of bluff in: