Call My Bluff

Go on. Do it. Call my bluff.

This classroom strategy is one of those gems that doesn’t get used enough because it is perhaps deemed ‘old-fashioned’.

Rubbish. It’s as relevant and useful today as it was when the TV programme first aired.

The concept couldn’t be simpler. You select a key term or word and then write three definitions for it, two are blags and one is bona fide. Students have to decide which one is the correct definition and explain why.

The trickier and more challenging part is writing two convincing definitions that aren’t actually correct. This is where students get to realise that writing definitions is hard work.

Clearly you want to focus on subject relevant terms but this can also be a ‘just for fun’ activity that isn’t necessarily tied to one subject. Obviously, the game has literacy at its heart so that’s a given.

Take the following examples,


  1. An embarrassing remark made by a small child.
  2. The left-handed page of a book.
  3. Passage of music calling for great skill from a soloist.


  1. Misbehaviour in office such as bribery or embezzlement.
  2. The operation of turning iron ore into steel.
  3. Repetition for emphasis.


  1. Additive to shampoo to give gloss to hair.
  2. Wide, garishly decorated leather belt.
  3. Having no trace of life.


  1. Adding a word to the middle of a word such as ‘abso-blooming-lutely’
  2. The teenage skin disorder popularly known as acne.
  3. A sun dial.

Answers: Verso = 2, Malversation = 1, Azoic = 3, Tmesis = 1

The definitions are short but sweet with enough ‘it could be that one’ factor to it.

Call my bluff can be extended into a longer version with each definition taking on more context and students then explaining the word perhaps as part of a narrative – this is how the TV version is played.

Use as a starter, main course, plenary, extension or homework.

Try this game for yourself and give it a go and see how it unfolds.

Here’s one without an answer (sorry, you’ll have to find it out!)


  1. A poor teller of jokes.
  2. The holder for a handleless coffee cup.
  3. An early German motor-car.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: