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31 / 05 / 2006

TO CALL SOMEBODY'S BLUFF: meaning and examples

Hello everybody.

Today's expression is: To call somebody's bluff

It means: to ask someone to do what they are threatening to do because you believe they do not intend to do it; you believe they want to trick you in order to have an advantage over you, but aren't serious.

To understand this expression, it's important to know what the word bluff means.

Bluff (verb) --> tirarse un farol; engañar.
Bluff (noun) --> farol.

Example 1:
Rick's son, Mark, told Rick that he was going to run away and never come back. Rick called his bluff by giving him 100 Euros and a sleeping bag (saco de dormir) and showing him the door. Needless to say, Mark did not run away.
Example 2:
When Anne got angry with the boss the other day, she told him that she wanted to quit. The boss called her bluff and asked her to turn in her letter or resignation within one hour. After she calmed down, she changed her mind and told him she would stay.  

If you play Poker, you understand how important being able to bluff can be. Mark (example 1) and Anne (example 2) are not very good at bluffing.

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I hope you have a good day.