call (one's) bluff

call (one's) bluff

1. To challenge someone to act on their threat or prove that their claim or boast is true, when one believes they are making a false claim or idle threat (i.e. bluffing). He insisted that he could run faster than me, but when I called his bluff, he suddenly said he had to go home.
2. To disprove a bluff. Whereas the first usage simply indicates a challenge, this usage indicates that the challenge resulted in the disproval. I don't know why he keeps making these outrageous claims. I've been calling his bluff for years and making him look like a fool.
See also: bluff, call

call someone's bluff

to demand that someone prove a claim or is not being deceptive. All right, I'll call your bluff. Show me you can do it! Tom said, "You've made me really angry, and I'll punch you if you come any closer!" "Go ahead," said Bill, calling his bluff.
See also: bluff, call

call someone's bluff

Expose someone's deception, invite a showdown, as in I don't believe they have enough capital; I'm going to call their bluff. This term comes from poker, where bluffing (pretending) that one has better cards than one's opponents is an intrinsic part of the game, and calling someone's bluff means forcing them to show their cards. By the late 1800s it was being applied to other enterprises. Also see show one's hand.
See also: bluff, call

call someone's bluff

COMMON If someone has made a threat and you call their bluff, you tell them to do what they are threatening to do, knowing that they probably will not do it. Mr Lukanov warned that he would deal severely with any protest actions in the universities. Now that the students have called his bluff, it remains to be seen what Mr Lukanov can do. The Socialists have finally decided to call the opposition's bluff, and it looks as if they have succeeded. Note: In poker (= a card game), a player who is bluffing is playing as though they have good cards when in fact they have bad cards. If another player calls the first player's bluff, they increase their stake (=the amount of money that is risked) to the required amount and ask the first player to show their cards.
See also: bluff, call

call someone's bluff

challenge someone to carry out a stated intention, in the expectation of being able to expose it as a false pretence.
In the game of poker (which was formerly also known by the name of bluff ), calling someone's bluff meant making an opponent show their hand in order to reveal that its value was weaker than their heavy betting suggested.
See also: bluff, call

call somebody’s ˈbluff

give somebody the chance to do what they are threatening to do, because you believe they will not or cannot do it: Next time she offers her resignation, they’ll call her bluff and accept it.
If you call somebody’s bluff in the game of poker, you force them to show their cards.
See also: bluff, call

call (someone's) bluff

To demand proof for or respond in a challenging way to the claims or threats of another that one presumes to be false.
See also: bluff, call