|I took this picture. No I didn't. Or did I?|
(no I didn't - Xavier Serra did)
Noun. Late 18th century.
[Probably from the verb, to which it is certainly related, but perhaps earlier.]
1. A blinker for a horse. Now obsolete or dialectical. L18
2. The game of poker; the action or an act of bluffing, originally in poker;
threatening or confident language or behaviour adopted without basis,
in order to intimidate or mislead an opponent. Originally US. M19
Adjective. Early 17th century.
[Originally nautical, perhaps of Low Dutch origin.]
1. Presenting a broad, flattened front; (of a ship's bows) broad and with little or no rake. E17
2. figurative. (a) Rough or surly in manner; abrupt, curt. E18. (b) Good-naturedly blunt; frank, hearty. E19
Also: bluffly adverb L18. bluffness noun M19.
Verb. Late 17th century.
[Dutch bluffen brag, boast, or bluf bragging, boasting.]
1. verb trans. Blindfold, hoodwink. Now obsolete or dialectical. L17
2. verb trans. & intrans. (Attempt to) deceive or intimidate by a pretence of strength (originally in the game of poker). Originally US. M19
The game of poker is all about bluffing. Except that it isn't. But the word bluffing is all about poker, which is jolly interesting. Also interesting is that the OED's definition narrows the bluff to a pretence of strength, whereas making a pretence of weakness could also rightly be considered a bluff, as you attempt to draw an opponent into a situation that they've underestimated. In poker circles, the value of bluffing is often said to be overstated and a costly habit that beginner players often fall into as they constantly (and transparently) try and out-bluff more experienced players. Fascinatingly, while deception within a species was long thought to be a uniquely human behaviour, deception has been observed in animals, including behaviours that can be described as bluffing. For the time being, however, playing poker does remain a uniquely human behaviour, but the moment that some chimp is reported to have won a stash of bananas with a 2/7 offsuit, Lexicolatry will be sure to report.
Are you a poker player that loves to bluff?
Are you too transparent and honest to ever pull off a convincing bluff?
Do please leave your most ambiguous comments below.