I think 'bragging' and 'showing off' are the same. But is 'bluffing' also the same thing? And if 'bragging' and 'showing off' have the same meaning, which one is more commonly used?

Here's the explanations(the similar ones).

Bluff, pretend that your position is stronger than it really is.

e.p. His bluff succeeded in getting him accepted.

Brag, to talk too proudly about what you have done, what you own etc.

e.p. Ben's always bragging about his success with women.

show off, display proudly, act ostentatiously or pretentiously

So when you say someone is showing off/bragging/bluffing, does it means he's actually telling the truth but just too proudly, or he's just telling lies only to make other people admire him?

And which one is more common?


1 Answer 1


Bluff - Letting someone think you have or can do something, when in reality you cannot. If the other person wants to you to prove it or tries expose this, they are calling your bluff.

Brag - To say or write that something is better than something else.

To show off - To do something for the express purpose of impressing others or making oneself feel superior to others.

Bluff always means deception. You bluff when you are trying to intimidate or fool others.

Brag can be deceptive in the sense of exaggeration, but brag doesn't imply an outright lie. There's an element of truth, sometimes small, anytime one brags. One brags to feel superior to thers.

Showing off does not mean deception - one does this to feel superior to others as well.

  • 1
    Thank you! So if I say, for example, I got better grade than you.(But actually not), that means I am bluffing. If I say I am better at studying than you are, that's bragging because this is unsure. And if I get the highest score in the class and I tell it to everybody, this is showing off. Right?
    – Ran
    Sep 2, 2017 at 13:37
  • 1
    Yep, you got it!
    – LawrenceC
    Sep 2, 2017 at 18:38

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