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bluff1

[bluhf] /blʌf/
adjective, bluffer, bluffest.
1.
good-naturedly direct, blunt, or frank; heartily outspoken:
a big, bluff, generous man.
2.
presenting a bold and nearly perpendicular front, as a coastline:
a bluff, precipitous headland.
3.
Nautical. (of the bow of a vessel) having a full, blunt form.
noun
4.
a cliff, headland, or hill with a broad, steep face.
5.
North Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Canadian Prairie Provinces. a clump or grove of trees on a prairie or other generally treeless area.
Origin
1620-1630
1620-30; perhaps < Middle Low German blaff smooth, even, or < Middle Dutch blaf broad, flat
Related forms
bluffly, adverb
bluffness, noun
Synonyms
1. forthright, open, honest; rough, crude. See blunt. 2. abrupt, steep.
Antonyms
1. subtle.

bluff2

[bluhf] /blʌf/
verb (used with object)
1.
to mislead by a display of strength, self-confidence, or the like:
He bluffed me into believing that he was a doctor.
2.
to gain by bluffing:
He bluffed his way into the job.
3.
Poker. to deceive by a show of confidence in the strength of one's cards.
verb (used without object)
4.
to mislead someone by presenting a bold, strong, or self-confident front:
That open face makes it impossible for him to bluff.
noun
5.
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.
6.
a person who bluffs; bluffer:
That big bluff doesn't have a nickel to his name.
Idioms
7.
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
1665-75; perhaps < Low German bluffen to bluster, frighten; akin to Middle Dutch bluffen to make a trick at cards
Related forms
bluffable, adjective
bluffer, noun
unbluffable, adjective
unbluffed, adjective
unbluffing, adjective
Synonyms
1. deceive, fool, dupe, delude, hoodwink.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for bluff
  • With the lab jobs in hand, our confidently stated bluff became a reality.
  • The markets once again are calling euro-zone leaders' bluff.
  • He recorded the event in a beautiful inscription on the sandstone bluff.
  • Thus, he thought it sometimes right for the police to bluff even about incriminating evidence.
  • On a bluff above a narrow stream, mud-walled homes cling together in tightly packed clusters.
  • Instead it makes a blustery, bluff charge and swipes at the camera.
  • Anything could happen in this game of nuclear bluff.
  • The government, perhaps unsurprisingly, failed to call their bluff.
  • However, their refusal to spell out what they meant meant that within days markets had called their bluff.
  • Thousands of people gathered on the west bluff of this city to view it.
British Dictionary definitions for bluff

bluff1

/blʌf/
verb
1.
to pretend to be confident about an uncertain issue or to have undisclosed resources, in order to influence or deter (someone)
noun
2.
deliberate deception intended to create the impression of a stronger position or greater resources than one actually has
3.
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

bluff2

/blʌf/
noun
1.
a steep promontory, bank, or cliff, esp one formed by river erosion on the outside bend of a meander
2.
(Canadian) a clump of trees on the prairie; copse
adjective
3.
good-naturedly frank and hearty
4.
(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 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.

n.

"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 bluff

bluff

noun

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

verb

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 bluff
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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