bra·​va·​do | \brə-ˈvä-(ˌ)dō \
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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Did You Know?

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

The right chairman is someone who can balance the bravado with the cold, hard truth that Elon Musk can’t save the world alone. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Tesla’s Next Chairman Needs to Be an Outsider," 30 Sep. 2018 The overall Silicon Valley bravado within General Magic will likely feel familiar to current viewers, too. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "General Magic—how tech superfriends assembled, dreamt up smartphones, and failed," 12 Aug. 2018 But Lo, who goes by Kat, doesn’t exude the bravado of a disrupter selling, well, a wind turbine–powered pasta machine. Vogue, "Lobby Hero: Katherine Lo's New Hotel Touts Progressive Politics, Down the Street from the Trump International," 20 July 2018 Yet, despite the bravado, this would-be politician understands the odds. Trudy Rubin,, "Can Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny use social media to combat Putin's presidency-for-life? | Trudy Rubin," 27 Apr. 2018 But for all the cynical bravado of its embassy Twitter feeds, Russia is acting not out of a sense of newfound strength but a fear of decline and isolation. Seva Gunitsky, The New Republic, "One Word to Fix U.S. Russia Policy," 27 Apr. 2018 His time with the team was filled almost equally with brilliance, bravado, injuries and hard living. James Wagner, New York Times, "Mets and Matt Harvey Part Ways," 4 May 2018 Their court demeanor was a far cry from the bravado of the communications a forensic examination of Viner’s iPhone found after the news of the death in Wichita. Time, "Video Gamers Plead Not Guilty in Kansas 'Swatting' Death," 13 June 2018 The stereotype in surgery favors bravado over humility, confidence over caution. Jason Han,, "For this surgeon-in-training, his profession's stereotype both inspiring and damaging," 15 May 2018

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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Statistics for bravado

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for bravado

The first known use of bravado was circa 1580

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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

Spanish Central: Translation of bravado

Nglish: Translation of bravado for Spanish Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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