blow one’s own trumpet: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘blow one's own trumpet’ mean?

The idiom "blow one's own trumpet" means to boast or promote oneself, often in an exaggerated or self-aggrandizing manner.

Idiom Explorer

Trumpet Egotism

The idiom "blow one's own trumpet" is widely used in English and has its roots in the musical tradition of trumpet playing. It originates from the playing of trumpets in European courts and military bands during the Renaissance period. Historically, trumpets were played to announce and celebrate important events or individuals, symbolizing grandeur, power, and authority. Thus, to "blow one's own trumpet" metaphorically meant to draw attention to oneself or proclaim one's own importance.

Over time, the meaning of the idiom evolved to signify self-promotion or bragging. The act of playing the trumpet became a symbol of drawing attention to oneself through accomplishments or abilities. In modern usage, "blow one's own trumpet" is often associated with an negative connotation, suggesting arrogance or self-centeredness.

He can't help but blow his own trumpet.

However, the idiom can also describe someone seeking recognition or acknowledgement for their achievements. It conveys a sense of self-praise and self-aggrandizement, often with the intention of impressing others or gaining advantages.

Related idioms include "blow out of proportions," "full of oneself," "in all one's glory," and "adorn oneself with borrowed plumes." These idioms share the theme of self-promotion or exaggeration, albeit from different perspectives. "Blow out of proportions" refers to exaggerating the importance or impact of something, while "full of oneself" describes someone who is excessively self-centered or self-absorbed. "In all one's glory" emphasizes showcasing oneself in a grand or impressive manner, and "adorn oneself with borrowed plumes" refers to taking credit or praise for someone else's accomplishments.

It is interesting to note that similar idiomatic expressions exist in different languages and cultures. In French, there is the phrase "se vanter de ses propres mérites," which translates to "to boast of one's own merits." In Spanish, there is the phrase "tocar la trompeta," meaning "to play the trumpet," which is used to convey the idea of self-promotion or self-praise.

The idiom "blow one's own trumpet" serves as a reminder of the complexities of human nature. While it can be seen as a cautionary tale against excessive self-promotion, it also highlights the importance of self-confidence and asserting one's abilities in a competitive world.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "blow one's own trumpet" can be used in a sentence:

  • She always blows her own trumpet and takes credit for other people's work.
  • He is known for blowing his own trumpet and exaggerating his achievements.
  • Instead of bragging and blowing their own trumpets, they prefer to let their actions speak for themselves.

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