Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Boasting in the form of graffiti

Boasting or bragging is speaking with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one's achievements, possessions, or abilities.

Boasting occurs when someone feels a sense of satisfaction or when someone feels that whatever occurred proves their superiority and is recounting accomplishments so that others will feel admiration or envy.[1]

Individuals construct an image of themselves, a personal identity, and present themselves in a manner that is consistent with that image.[2] Theodore Millon theorized that in self-presentation, individuals seek to balance boasting against discrediting themselves with excessive self-promotion or being caught blatantly misrepresenting themselves. Studies show that people often have a limited ability to perceive how their efforts at self-presentation are actually impacting their acceptance and likeability by others.[3]

Forms of bragging[edit]

Although a brag can be as straightforward as a simple claim to riches or greatness, it often assumes a variety of more subtle forms[4] in order to shield the speaker from any opprobrium they might otherwise receive for transgressing the social norms of humility. The most popular of these forms is the humblebrag, a term coined by comedian Harris Wittels, whereby the brag is masked in a complaint.[5] For example, "Dating websites are so much work. Every time I log in, I have like a hundred new messages."

Society and culture[edit]

One child boasting to another

The Ancient Greek book The Characters of Theophrastus devotes a chapter to "The Boastful Man".[6]

Bēot is Old English for a ritualized boast, vow, threat or promise, which was usually made by an Anglo-Saxon warrior on the eve of or during battle. Bēots can be found in the epic poem Beowulf, including by the hero himself.

A gab (Old Occitan [ˈɡap] for "boast") is a troubadour boasting song.

Boasting and bragging are necessary components of maintaining "face" in some Arab societies.[7]

Fictional characters noted for their boasting[edit]

Ambrogio Maestri as Falstaff

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brown, Nina (2006). Coping with Infuriating, Mean, Critical People: The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern. ABC-CLIO. p. 66. ISBN 978-0313070402.
  2. ^ Schlenker, Barry R. (1980). Impression Management: The Self-Concept, Social Identity, and Interpersonal Relations. Monterey/California: Brooks/Cole.
  3. ^ Millon, Theodore (2003). Handbook of Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology. John Wiley & Sons. p. 337. ISBN 978-0471384045.
  4. ^ "The Best Article Ever Written About Bragging".
  5. ^ Matley, D. (2018). “This is NOT a# humblebrag, this is just a# brag”: The pragmatics of self-praise, hashtags and politeness in Instagram posts. Discourse, context & media, 22, 30-38.
  6. ^ Theophrastus (1870). The Characters of Theophrastus: An English Tr. from a Rev. Text. Macmillan & Company. p. 192. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  7. ^ CIA: Concepts of "Face" [1]

External links[edit]