Definition of call someone's bluff in English:

call someone's bluff


  • 1Challenge someone thought to be bluffing.

    ‘she was tempted to call his bluff, hardly believing he'd carry out his threat’
    • ‘I called his bluff, expecting him to laugh - to turn around and leave.’
    • ‘He had called her bluff, and she had met his challenge head on.’
    • ‘For these emotions to work, they must have a kind of inevitability built into them, such that, when someone calls your bluff, you cannot avoid carrying out your promise or threat.’
    • ‘When anybody calls their bluff and punctures this self-delusion, they can only cope by insulting and vilifying their critics.’
    • ‘But now that we know people are doing this, it's time for us to start calling their bluff: You aren't really talking to anyone are you?’
    • ‘Transfolk, increasingly numerous, loud and proud, are calling our bluff.’
    • ‘In a very real sense, I think the big commercial publishers now are clearly calling our bluff.’
    • ‘If you gave because you liked the site, or even just wanted to humiliate me by calling my bluff, you're free to leave it - but believe me, I would not fault you in the slightest for asking for your money back.’
    • ‘I think furiously, she's calling my bluff, I'll push even further’
    • ‘And should it respond by accommodating its demands, or by calling its bluff?’
    • ‘His premise is that Democrats are ‘aghast’ at the president's ‘new’ Social Security proposal because he ‘has finally called their bluff.’’
    • ‘Over the past few weeks, the president has called their bluff.’
    • ‘In effect, where polluters had previously argued that emission control was too expensive, the new system called their bluff.’
    • ‘And it's about time someone from the conservative side of politics called their bluff.’
    • ‘Right or wrong, some of the guards called their bluff, and we can learn from that.’
    • ‘Or, what if we called their bluff and didn't give them the money and see what happens then?’
    • ‘In this case, the concerned students have called the publication 's bluff, pointing out that consideration for the larger community was not taken when the ‘back door’ article was produced.’
    • ‘Two idealistic activists, however, called his bluff.’
    • ‘Just as the sailor will bring lively tales of adventure, he may also be able to ferret out falsehoods and call deceivers' bluffs, because he has gained wisdom from life's challenges and insights into human nature.’
    • ‘The bluff was called and it was game back on as players hastily deserted favourite watering holes.’
  • 2(in poker or brag) make an opponent show their hand in order to reveal that its value is weaker than their heavy betting suggests.

    ‘I'm just a little disappointed that it went this far to play poker and to have someone call your bluff.’
    • ‘One company has called the other's bluff and laid down on the table four Kings - four of a kind.’
    • ‘When not daring an opponent to call his bluff, he seduced them.’
    • ‘I called his bluff correctly though and I ended up getting all the chips back off him and knocking him out so was all good in the end.’
    • ‘There were two reasons why I called his bluff.’