bra·​va·​do | \ brə-ˈvä-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce bravado (audio) \
plural bravadoes or bravados

Definition of bravado

1a : blustering swaggering conduct youthful bravado
b : a pretense of bravery
2 : the quality or state of being foolhardy

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Bravado ultimately traces to the Old Italian adjective bravo, meaning "courageous" or "wild." Nowadays, the wildness once associated with bravado has been tamed to an overbearing boldness that comes from arrogance or a position of power. Celebrities, political or corporate giants, and the schoolyard bully may all show bravado (though they often turn out to be not so tough after all). Bravado is also used for show-offish, daring acts that seem reckless and inconsistent with good sense, but might, nonetheless, be applauded with shouts of Bravo! when successful. The spectacular feats of stuntmen come to mind, for example.

Examples of bravado in a Sentence

His stories are always told with bravado. I remember his youthful bravado.
Recent Examples on the Web To a public and press sick of pandemics and politics, this otherworldly bravado has been a tonic. Gary Payne, Star Tribune, 22 May 2021 Netanyahu’s bravado has threatened all aspects of Palestinian life, since his great ally Donald Trump became U.S. President. Time, 18 May 2021 Of course, for Tepfer to supply his own improvised versions of the missing Bach inventions takes some bravado. New York Times, 14 May 2021 As chronic and dangerous nuisance, everyone—including many Iranians—realize the Persian Gulf would be far better place without the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ toxic combination of bravado and stupidity. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 21 May 2021 The bravado and tough-on-crime stance that made the sheriff popular could be at odds with America’s current mood. Leon Stafford, ajc, 30 Apr. 2021 In one, a girl stands in the kitchen of a Bronx shelter, her arm twisted in the air with the bravado of a dancer. Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2021 The tone of Mandel’s ad is quite difference from the false bravado and anti-Muslim rhetoric on his Twitter, recounting his grandmother surviving the Holocaust thanks to Christians. cleveland, 30 Mar. 2021 The rebel who masks her insecurities behind fake bravado and a bottle of booze. Neal Justin, Star Tribune, 25 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bravado.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bravado

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bravado

Middle French bravade & Old Spanish bravata, from Old Italian bravata, from bravare to challenge, show off, from bravo

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Time Traveler for bravado

Time Traveler

The first known use of bravado was circa 1580

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bravado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for bravado



English Language Learners Definition of bravado

: confident or brave talk or behavior that is intended to impress other people

More from Merriam-Webster on bravado

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bravado

Nglish: Translation of bravado for Spanish Speakers


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