See also: Bluff

English

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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Probably from Dutch bluffen (to brag), from Middle Dutch bluffen (to make something swell; to bluff); or from the Dutch noun bluf (bragging). Related to German verblüffen (to stump, perplex).

Noun

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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 one actually does.
    John's bet was a bluff: he bet without even so much as a pair.
  3. (US, dated) The card game poker.
    • 1845, Hoyle's Games:
      BLUFF OR POKER [title of a chapter]
  4. One who bluffs; a bluffer.
  5. (slang, dated) An excuse.
Derived terms
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Descendants
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  • Portuguese: bluff, (Brazil) blefe
Translations
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Verb

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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.
  4. (Manglish, Singlish) To give false information intentionally; to lie; to deceive
Derived terms
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Terms derived from bluff (verb)
Translations
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Etymology 2

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Related to Middle Low German blaff (smooth).

Noun

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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.
    • 2020, David Farrier, “Thin Cities”, in Footprints, 4th Estate, →ISBN:
      Situated on bluffs above the Huangpu, a tributary of the Yangtze, Shanghai—which means ‘above the sea’—is sinking.
  2. (Canadian Prairies) A small wood or stand of trees, typically poplar or willow.
Derived terms
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Translations
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Adjective

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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.
    • 1769, William Falconer, "Côte en écore" (entry in An Universal Dictionary of the Marine)
      a bluff or bold shore
    • 1845, Sylvester Judd, Margaret: A Tale of the Real and the Ideal, Blight and Bloom; Including Sketches of a Place Not Before Described, Called Mons Christi:
      Its banks, if not really steep, had a bluff and precipitous aspect.
  3. Surly; churlish; gruff; rough.
    • 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, London, Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, →OCLC:
      [] he had a bluff, rough-and-ready face, all roughened and reddened and lined in his long travels.
  4. Roughly frank and hearty in one's manners.
    Synonyms: abrupt, unceremonious, blunt, brusque
    a bluff answer
    a bluff manner of talking
    a bluff sea captain
    • 1832, [Isaac Taylor], Saturday Evening. [], London: Holdsworth and Ball, →OCLC:
      There is indeed a bluff pertinacity which is a proper defence in a moment of surprise.
Derived terms
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Translations
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Etymology 3

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

Verb

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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, 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, 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.
Translations
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References

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  1. ^ James A. H. Murray [et al.], editors (1884–1928), “Bluff, v.2”, in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), volumes I (A–B), London: Clarendon Press, →OCLC, page 947, column 1.
  • “bluff” in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Further reading

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Danish

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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Borrowed from English bluff.

Noun

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bluff n

  1. bluff
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French

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Etymology

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Borrowed from English bluff.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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bluff m (plural bluffs)

  1. (chiefly card games) bluff

Descendants

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Further reading

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Italian

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Etymology

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Unadapted borrowing from English bluff.

Noun

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bluff m

  1. (poker) bluff
  2. bluff (false expression of the strength of one's position)

Further reading

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  • bluff in Treccani.it – Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana

Polish

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Polish Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia pl

Etymology

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Unadapted borrowing from French bluff, from English bluff.

Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /blɛf/
  • Rhymes: -ɛf
  • Syllabification: bluff

Noun

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bluff m inan

  1. (card games) Alternative spelling of blef

Declension

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Further reading

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  • bluff in Wielki słownik języka polskiego, Instytut Języka Polskiego PAN
  • bluff in Polish dictionaries at PWN

Portuguese

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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Unadapted borrowing from English bluff.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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bluff m (invariable)

  1. bluff (lie intended to deceive)
  2. (poker) bluff

Romanian

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Etymology

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Unadapted borrowing from English bluff.

Noun

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bluff n (plural bluffuri)

  1. bluff

Declension

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Swedish

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Etymology

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Unadapted borrowing from English bluff. According to SO attested since 1903.

Noun

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bluff c

  1. A bluff (act of bluffing).
    Synonyms: falskspel, lurendrejeri, lögn
    Det är en bluff.
    It is a bluff.
  2. (poker) A bluff.
  3. A bluff (one who bluffs).
    Synonyms: lurendrejare, lögnare
    Han är en bluff.
    He is a bluff.

Declension

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