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Apr 20, 2012
This week's theme
Words that have meanings in multiple parts of speech

This week's words
paragon
countenance
gloze
tarry
bluff

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

bluff

PRONUNCIATION:
(bluhf)

MEANING:
verb tr., intr.: 1. To mislead or deceive, especially by a false display of confidence.
noun: 2. An instance of bluffing; also one who bluffs.
adjective: 3. Good-naturedly direct in speech or manner.
noun: 4. A broad, steep cliff or promontory. 5. A grove or clump of trees.

ETYMOLOGY:
For 1, 2: From Dutch bluffen (to brag). Earliest documented use: 1674.
For 3-5: From obsolete Dutch blaf (flat), or Middle Low German blaff (broad, smooth). Earliest documented use: 1666.

USAGE:
"Answer with authority and they'll believe the bluff. How many of us love that advertisement where the dad tells the kid that the Great Wall of China was built to keep the rabbits out?"
Karen Hardy; Parents Must Teach, Too; The Canberra Times (Australia); Mar 10, 2012

"Kip Hawley, the man who runs the TSA, is a bluff, amiable fellow who is capable of making a TSA joke. 'Do you want three ounces of water?' he asked me."
Jeffrey Goldberg; The Things He Carried; Atlantic (New York); Nov 2008.

"Record snowfall of more than 16 feet on the bluff has chased moose to the lower elevations."
Naomi Klouda; Moose Don't Mix With Dogs, People; Homer Tribune (Alaska); Mar 28, 2012.

See more usage examples of bluff in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The world, we are told, was made especially for man -- a presumption not supported by all the facts... Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? -John Muir, naturalist and explorer (1838-1914)

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