Call someone’s bluff

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The idiom to call someone’s bluff is an American phrase. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of call someone’s bluff, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To call someone’s bluff means to challenge someone to prove his claim, usually with the expectation that the individual is attempting to deceive. The term to call someone’s bluff is derived from the card game of poker. A strategy in poker is to make your opponent believe that you have better cards in your hand than you actually possess, which is called bluffing. A successful bluff means that your opponent folds, or gives in, without seeing your poor hand of cards. In poker, to call means to match your opponent’s wager so that the betting portion of the game is ended, and all players must show their hands. Calling a player’s bluff exposes that player’s deception. The term call someone’s bluff has moved into mainstream English, taking on a figurative meaning. Related terms are calls someone’s bluff, called someone’s bluff, calling someone’s bluff. 


An offer like that would basically call his bluff, and he would then have to go find someone else to pay him more. (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

One reason Koons might feel this way is that, despite the riches and the retrospectives and all that heightened consciousness, he has quite a few detractors, a group composed of traditionalists and minimalists and puritans, or those who simply call his bluff. (The Guardian)

Occasionally the employer will call your bluff and invite you to take up the offer and leave. (The Sydney Morning Herald)