Etymology: obsolete Dutch blaf flat; akin to Middle Low German blaff smooth
a. having a broad flattened front
b. rising steeply with a broad flat or rounded front
2. good-naturedly frank and outspoken
• bluffly adverb
• bluffness noun
bluff, blunt, brusque, curt, crusty, gruff mean abrupt and unceremonious in speech and manner. bluff connotes good-natured outspokenness and unconventionality <a bluff manner>. blunt suggests directness of expression in disregard of others' feelings <a blunt appraisal>. brusque applies to a sharpness or ungraciousness <a brusque response>. curt implies disconcerting shortness or rude conciseness <a curt command>. crusty suggests a harsh or surly manner sometimes concealing an inner kindliness <a crusty exterior>. gruff suggests a hoarse or husky speech which may imply bad temper but more often implies embarrassment or shyness <puts on a gruff pose>. II. noun Date: 1666 a high steep bank ; cliff III. verb Etymology: probably from Dutch bluffen to boast, play a kind of card game Date: 1791 transitive verb 1. a. to deter or frighten by pretense or a mere show of strength b. deceive c. feign <the catcher bluffed a throw to first> 2. to deceive (an opponent) in cards by a bold bet on an inferior hand intransitive verb to bluff someone ; act deceptively • bluffer noun IV. noun Date: 1845 1. a. an act or instance of bluffing b. the practice of bluffing 2. one who bluffs
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.