Call My Bluff – Idiom, Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Welcome to the world of expressions, where language is a deck of cards and idioms are the wild jokers. This time we’re going all in on the phrase call your bluff. It’s fairly self-explanatory, but some important factors should be considered when using this expression. Lucky for you, I’ll break it all down right here!

Meaning of Call My Bluff

Call My Bluff Idiom Origin Meaning

When someone calls your bluff, they challenge you to prove your claim, suspecting you’re bluffing. In other words, they think you’re trying to deceive them, you big ol’ liar.

Call Your Bluff Ngram

It’s a term taken straight from the poker table, where bluffing is actually an effective strategy to lead opponents to believe you have a stronger hand than you actually do. If someone calls your bluff, they’re putting you to the test.

Origin and Etymology of Calling Someone’s Bluff

The term bluff itself originates from the Dutch word blaf or verbluffen, which basically means to brag or boast. We’ve been using the phrase call your bluff in English since the mid-19th century, and it is directly linked to the game of poker. When a player calls, they match the current bet, and the hands are revealed to see who was bluffing and who was not.

Call Your Bluff Synonyms

There are plenty of other ways to express this very same idea. Here are just a few:

  • Challenge your claim
  • Put to the test
  • Demand proof
  • Expose the falsehood
  • Question the veracity

Call Your Bluff Examples in a Sentence

Call My Bluff Idiom Origin Meaning 1

Using call your bluff in a sentence is easy when you see how it’s done.

  • I decided to call his bluff and asked him to show the results he bragged about.
  • The weird girl in class was always making wild claims and one day, I finally called her bluff.
  • The new marketing company claimed they could finish the project in a week, so we called their bluff to test them before hiring.
  • “If you think I’m scared, try me. Call my bluff,” he dared.
  • He called our bluff, so we had no choice but to admit that we didn’t have substantial evidence.
  • I sensed he wasn’t telling the truth, so I dared to call his bluff.
  • If you’re really not afraid of heights, prove it—I call your bluff.
  • Jane was constantly boasting about her insane cooking skills until someone called her bluff and ran off.
  • Our neighbor thought he could threaten us, but we called his bluff.
  • The opposition party called the government’s bluff on their promise to lower taxes.

Are You Bluffing?

And that’s how we deal with call your bluff! It’s a cool phrase born in the heat of poker games and now serves as a wordy tool in the game of life. Whether you’re facing someone’s audacious claims or challenging their half-baked boasts, you’re now armed and ready to call anyone’s bluff. Life isn’t always a poker game, but when it is, keep your cards close and your idioms closer.