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

If anything, despite my initial bravado about sharing my story with the masses, the weeks leading up to my episode’s release were filled with doubt and apprehension. Washington Post, "I opened up about my stalker to a true crime podcast. Here’s why it helped me heal.," 19 June 2019 At Tuesday’s rally, Mr. Trump made no mention of disappointing polls, preferring instead to display his trademark bravado. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, "Trump, at Rally in Florida, Kicks Off His 2020 Re-election Bid," 18 June 2019 Follow in the footsteps of gladiators at the Roman Colosseum, then test your bravado at a gladiator school. National Geographic, "Italy Family Journey: Venice to Rome," 12 June 2019 The hushed gravitas and simplicity of the original restaurant had clearly been eradicated in favor of a more boisterous bravado. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "A Clear-Eyed Assessment of the New Four Seasons—By Someone Who Loved the Old One," 7 Sep. 2018 After seeing Searching, his words don't feel like total bravado. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Searching: You’ve never seen Windows XP and load screens like this," 25 Aug. 2018 There are reasons to believe that the claim is not merely desperate bravado. Noam Scheiber, New York Times, "Labor Unions Will Be Smaller After Supreme Court Decision, but Maybe Not Weaker," 27 June 2018 The players project hearty bravado at the prospect of moving from the rear of the stage to the front-and-center position. David Patrick Stearns,, "Philly composer Jennifer Higdon's new concerto didn't come easy - but they never do," 14 Feb. 2018 With ornate interiors by Studio Peregalli, the swanky eatery brims with his signature bravado. Town & Country, "The Secret Worlds of Milan’s Design Illuminati," 21 Sep. 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

25 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for bravado

The first known use of bravado was circa 1580

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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

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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

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).


having a desire to acquire more things

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