\ ˈbləf How to pronounce bluff (audio) \

Definition of bluff

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : having a broad flattened front a ship with bluff bows
b : rising steeply with a broad flat or rounded front the bluff banks of the river
2 : good-naturedly frank and outspoken a bluff, easygoing fellow


noun (1)

Definition of bluff (Entry 2 of 4)

: a high steep bank : cliff stood on the bluffs overlooking the ocean


bluffed; bluffing; bluffs

Definition of bluff (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to deter or frighten by pretense or a mere show of strength bluffed them into surrendering
b : deceive bluff her way in without a ticket
c : feign The catcher bluffed a throw to first.
2 card games : to deceive (an opponent) by a bold bet on an inferior hand was bluffed out of a winning hand

intransitive verb

: to bluff someone : act deceptively You can tell when he is bluffing.


noun (2)

Definition of bluff (Entry 4 of 4)

1a : a false threat or claim intended to deter or deceive someone : an act or instance of bluffing (see bluff entry 3) Having … nothing to support his pretensions he decided to put up a bluff.— Sherwood Anderson His boss called his bluff.
b : the practice of bluffing The agreement had been reached, after weeks of bluff and haggle …Time
2 : one who bluffs

Other Words from bluff


bluffly adverb
bluffness noun


bluffer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bluff


bluff, blunt, brusque, curt, crusty, gruff mean abrupt and unceremonious in speech and manner. bluff connotes good-natured outspokenness and unconventionality. a bluff manner blunt suggests directness of expression in disregard of others' feelings. a blunt appraisal brusque applies to a sharpness or ungraciousness. a brusque response curt implies disconcerting shortness or rude conciseness. a curt command crusty suggests a harsh or surly manner sometimes concealing an inner kindliness. a crusty exterior gruff suggests a hoarse or husky speech which may imply bad temper but more often implies embarrassment or shyness. puts on a gruff pose

Examples of bluff in a Sentence

Adjective he's a bluff but good-hearted teacher Verb She says someone else has made her a higher offer, but I think she's bluffing. Don't listen to his threats—he's just bluffing you. I bluffed my way through the interview.

First Known Use of bluff


1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (1)

1666, in the meaning defined above


1791, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bluff

Adjective and Noun (1)

obsolete Dutch blaf flat; akin to Middle Low German blaff smooth

Verb and Noun (2)

probably from Dutch bluffen to boast, play a kind of card game

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Dictionary Entries Near bluff

blue-yellow blindness



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Statistics for bluff

Cite this Entry

“Bluff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bluff


\ ˈbləf How to pronounce bluff (audio) \

Kids Definition of bluff

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : rising steeply with a broad front a bluff shoreline
2 : frank and outspoken in a rough but good-natured way



Kids Definition of bluff (Entry 2 of 4)

: a high steep bank : cliff


bluffed; bluffing

Kids Definition of bluff (Entry 3 of 4)

: to deceive or frighten by pretending to have more strength or confidence than is really true



Kids Definition of bluff (Entry 4 of 4)

: an act or instance of pretending to have more strength, confidence, or ability than is really true

Bluff geographical name

\ ˈbləf How to pronounce Bluff (audio) \

Definition of Bluff

town in southern New Zealand

Note: Bluff serves as the port for the city of Invercargill.

More from Merriam-Webster on bluff

Nglish: Translation of bluff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bluff for Arabic Speakers


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