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

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 Middle European restraint and quiet meticulousness versus Iberian bravado and passion. Jon Wertheim,, "'Strokes of Genius' Documentary Commemorates the Iconic Federer-Nadal '08 Wimbledon Final," 26 June 2018 Their version of manliness values bravado and aggression above the needs of others. Laura Mcgann, Vox, "What Donald Trump and Jim Jordan really mean when they say “locker room talk”," 7 July 2018 Based on how the top of the draft is setting up, Young soon could become a Heat divisional or conference concern, one who is bringing a bravado that rivals his shooting range. Ira Winderman,, "NBA draft's next Steph 2.0 looms as potential Heat rival," 18 June 2018 With a number of high-profile diplomatic events coming up, including the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump’s bravado will be put to the test., "Today: R-E-S-P-E-C-T?," 7 June 2018 Their rivals respond likewise or on social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, in an escalating contest of bravado that sometimes crosses over to the real world. New York Times, "Amid London’s Crime Surge, Authorities Take Aim at ‘Drill,’ a Bleak Style of Rap Music," 1 June 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

12 Nov 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

Comments on bravado

What made you want to look up bravado? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

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