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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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 Walking around mask-less, in a pointless show of defiance or bravado or flat-out ignorance, is lame. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: Wear a mask. Liberty without responsibility is chaos.," 1 July 2020 Trump deploys a combination of hatred, bravado and incoherence to make an already dysfunctional state of affairs immeasurably worse. Benjamin C. Waterhouse, Washington Post, "Trump’s GOP: a “post-policy party”," 26 June 2020 Scott’s idiot-boy bravado displayed while hanging out with his stoner friends, insisting that his father’s death doesn’t bother him, clearly masks debilitating pain. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Pete Davidson shines in Judd Apatow's messy, rewarding movie 'The King of Staten Island'," 9 June 2020 Musk’s space company is valued at about $36 billion, and its bravado and reusable rockets have inspired other entrepreneurs. Julie Johnsson,, "SpaceX Astronauts Reach Space Station After Milestone Voyage," 30 May 2020 Our talk was loud and jolly, or confiding and vaguely feminist, full of laughter, full of anecdote and personal history, and with a great deal of bravado from me. Lynn Freed, Harper's Magazine, "Carrying On," 27 Apr. 2020 The members of the team were almost all former military — American, Slovak and Norwegian — gruff and full of bravado. Alex Kay Potter, New York Times, "I Went to Iraq to Take Photographs. I Stayed On as a Medic.," 3 Mar. 2020 But sometimes the French and Mexican influences pushed each other around, flexing in flashes of bravado. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Julia’s Bistro & Bar proudly plants French and Mexican flags in San Antonio’s Beacon Hill," 9 Jan. 2020 In the past, aides who have dared to diverge from the president too much or express concern about his bluster and bravado -- which Trump sees as leverage in high-stakes negotiations -- often are ejected from the administration. Justin Sink,, "Trump’s Coronavirus Claims Often Contradicted by His Own Experts," 29 Apr. 2020

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

10 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bravado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for bravado


How to pronounce bravado (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bravado

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on bravado

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bravado

Spanish Central: Translation of bravado

Nglish: Translation of bravado for Spanish Speakers

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