Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To mislead or deceive.
  • transitive v. To impress, deter, or intimidate by a false display of confidence.
  • transitive v. Games To try to mislead (opponents) in a card game by heavy betting on a poor hand or by little or no betting on a good one.
  • intransitive v. To engage in a false display of strength or confidence.
  • n. The act or practice of bluffing.
  • n. One that bluffs.
  • n. A steep headland, promontory, riverbank, or cliff.
  • adj. Rough and blunt but not unkind in manner. See Synonyms at gruff.
  • adj. Having a broad, steep front.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An act of bluffing; an expression of self-confidence for the purpose of intimidation; braggadocio; as, that is only bluff, or a bluff.
  • n. An attempt to represent yourself as holding a stronger hand than you do.
  • v. To make a bluff.
  • v. To scare with a false show of strength.
  • n. A high, steep bank, as by a river or the sea, or beside a ravine or plain; a cliff with a broad face.
  • n. A small wood or stand of trees, typically poplar or willow.
  • adj. Having a broad, flattened front; as, the bluff bows of a ship.
  • adj. Rising steeply with a flat or rounded front.
  • adj. Surly; churlish; gruff; rough.
  • adj. Abrupt; roughly frank; unceremonious; blunt; brusque; as, a bluff answer; a bluff manner of talking; a bluff sea captain.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having a broad, flattened front.
  • adj. Rising steeply with a flat or rounded front.
  • adj. Surly; churlish; gruff; rough.
  • adj. Abrupt; roughly frank; unceremonious; blunt; brusque.
  • n. A high, steep bank, as by a river or the sea, or beside a ravine or plain; a cliff with a broad face.
  • n. An act of bluffing; an expression of self-confidence for the purpose of intimidation; braggadocio.
  • n. A game at cards; poker.
  • transitive v. To deter (an opponent) from taking the risk of betting on his hand of cards, as the bluffer does by betting heavily on his own hand although it may be of less value.
  • transitive v. To frighten or deter from accomplishing a purpose by making a show of confidence in one's strength or resources.
  • intransitive v. To act as in the game of bluff.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having or presenting a broad, flattened front, as a ship with broad bows and nearly vertical stem.
  • Rising abruptly and boldly, as a high bank on the shore of a sea, lake, or river; presenting a bold and nearly perpendicular front, as a coastline or a range of low hills.
  • Broad and full: specially applied to a full countenance, indicative of frankness and good humor.
  • Hence Rough and hearty; plain and frank; somewhat abrupt and unconventional in manner.
  • Blustering; pompous; surly; churlish.
  • n. A hill, bank, or headland with a steep, broad face; a high bank presenting a steep or nearly perpendicular front, especially one on the shore of a sea, lake, or river; also, a steep rise between bottom-land and a higher table-land.
  • To blindfold or hoodwink.
  • In the game of poker, to deceive or impose upon (an opponent) by betting heavily on a worthless hand, or by acting in such a way as to cause the other players to believe that one's hand is stronger than it really is, in order to make them throw up their cards or stay out of the betting.
  • Hence To daunt or deter from the accomplishment of some design by boastful language or demeanor; repulse or frighten off by assuming a bold front, or by a make-believe show of resources, strength, etc.: frequently followed by off: as, to bluff off a dun.
  • In the game of poker, to bet heavily and with an air of confident assurance on a poor hand, in order to deceive an opponent and cause him to throw up his cards.
  • Hence To assume a bold, boastful front, so as to hoodwink an opponent as to one's real resources, strength, etc.
  • n. A blinker for a horse.
  • n. A game at cards; poker.
  • n. The act of deceiving or influencing, as in the game of poker, by a show of confident assurance and boastful betting or language; hence, language or demeanor intended to blind, frighten, or daunt an opponent in anything.
  • n. An isolated group of trees on the prairie.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. bluntly direct and outspoken but good-natured
  • n. pretense that your position is stronger than it really is
  • adj. very steep; having a prominent and almost vertical front
  • v. deceive an opponent by a bold bet on an inferior hand with the result that the opponent withdraws a winning hand
  • n. the act of bluffing in poker; deception by a false show of confidence in the strength of your cards
  • n. a high steep bank (usually formed by river erosion)
  • v. frighten someone by pretending to be stronger than one really is

Etymologies

Probably from Dutch bluffen, from Low German.
Probably from obsolete Dutch blaf or Middle Low German blaff, broad.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Dutch bluffen ("brag") or bluf ("bragging"). (Wiktionary)
Related to Middle Low German blaff, "smooth". (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Hey, maybe that's what clouds in coffee are made of. Marshmallows. Or dreams, of course.

    February 6, 2010

  • I love this word! It always reminds me of clouds and marshmellows!

    February 6, 2010

  • Plinth.

    February 5, 2009

  • Plinth!

    February 4, 2009

  • Plinth. :-)

    February 4, 2009

  • I love the mouthfeel of this word.
    Bluff bluff bluff bluff bluff!
    It's one of those words that sounds stranger the more you say it.

    February 4, 2009

  • "'People started noticing stuff eroding out of the bluff,' she recalls, 'and I got called out, along with the police, the real estate people and so on.

    'It was very clearly an archaeological burial. And the bluff was collapsing quickly, so we just got the contents out.'

    The bluff lies virtually at the end of the Americas, on a narrow, hooked spit projecting northwards from Barrow. It marks the join of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and is prey to the temperamental vagaries of both."
    - Richard Black, 'Bodies Point To Alaska's Past', BBC website 31 Dec 2007.

    January 1, 2008