Blow your own trumpet and toot your own horn

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Blow your own trumpet and toot your own horn are two expressions of the same idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the meaning of the phrases blow your own trumpet and toot your own horn, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

The phrases to blow your own trumpet and to toot your own horn mean to brag about one’s achievements, to boast about one’s skills or successes. Blow your own trumpet is most often used in British English and toot your own horn is most often used in American English, though they may overlap. The terms come from the practice of announcing the arrival of an important guest at a formal gathering with a fanfare of horns. The idea is that a truly important person is recognized by others and is heralded, while a self-important person remains unrecognized by others and must therefore blow his own trumpet or toot his own horn. These phrases are often used today in a self-deprecating way when one wishes to modestly point out a personal success.


I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but over the last few years, I have funded memorable holidays to Zanzibar, Bali, the US, South Africa and different parts of Europe and Asia. (The Khaleej Times)

“I’m not one to blow my own trumpet, but who knows what could have happened if I hadn’t come back?” (The Daily Echo)

“I don’t like to toot my own horn but it is great to be recognised to go away and help the kids at this level, especially at such a crucial age when they have got to learn so much.” (The Marlborough Express)

Because I didn’t toot my own horn, my particular contribution to the success of the organization was seen as a luxury. (Forbes Magazine)