Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
The final trumpet blast that will be sounded on Judgment Day to signal the dead to rise. The disgraceful way some people act these days makes me wonder if the last trump is coming sooner than later.
1. A designated card in some card games that ranks above all others. The only way I can win this hand is if I get the trump card.
2. A resource used to gain an advantage over others, often by being held and then used at an opportune time. I have a feeling the prosecution still hasn't played their trump card in this trial—I expect a big revelation during tomorrow's testimony.
hold all the acesand hold all the cards
to be in a favorable position; to be in a controlling position. (Alludes to having possession of all four aces or all the high cards in a card game.) How can I advance in my career when my competitor holds all the aces? If I held all the aces, I'd be able to do great things. I tried to get my points across, but Joan held all the cards and the board voted for her plan.
play one's trump card
1. Lit. [in certain card games] to play a card that, according to the rules of the game, outranks certain other cards and is thus able to take any card of another suit. Bob played his trump card and ended the game as the winner.
2. Fig. to use a special trick; to use one's most powerful or effective strategy or device. I won't play my trump card until I have tried everything else. I thought that the whole situation was hopeless until Mary played her trump card and solved the whole problem.
trump something up
1. to promote or boost something. They think they have to trump something up to get people to see it. They trumped up the movie so much that many people were disappointed when it finally came out.
2. to think something up; to contrive something. Do you just sit around trumping charges up against innocent people? They trumped up the charges in an effort to disgrace me.
1. heavily promoted; overly praised. (Hyphenated before nominal.) I don't care for trumped-up stuff like that movie. That movie was so trumped up. I expected to see something much better than it turned out to be.
2. made-up; contrived. They put Larry in the slammer on some trumped-up charge. It was a silly, trumped-up idea. Just forget it.
a trump card
an advantage that makes you more likely to succeed than other people, especially something that other people do not know about
Usage notes: In card games a trump card is one of a set of cards which have been chosen to have the highest value during the game.The fact that I had an Italian parent turned out to be my trump card when I applied for the job. Anthea was about to play her trump card - none of the money could be released without her signature.
come up/turn up trumps(British & Australian)
to complete an activity successfully or to produce a good result, especially when you were not expected to
Usage notes: In card games, trumps are a set of cards which have been chosen to have the highest value during the game.John's uncle came up trumps and found us a place to stay at the last minute.
hold all the aces
Also, hold all the trumps. Be in a winning position, as in We can't argue with Jeff; he holds all the aces, or If Jean refuses, he'll reveal that he holds all the trumps and force her to give in. These expressions allude to card games in which the ace or a trump card outranks all the others. Also see play one's cards right; trump card.
A key resource to gain an advantage at the opportune moment, as in That surprise witness was the defense's trump card, or She played her trump card, announcing that the Senator would speak. This expression transfers the trump card of games such as bridge, which can win over a card of another suit, to other kinds of advantage. [Early 1800s]
Concoct fraudulently, fabricate, as in They trumped up a charge of conspiracy, or She had trumped up another excuse for not doing the work. This expression, first recorded in 1695, uses trump in the sense of "devise fraudulently," a usage otherwise obsolete.
turn up trumps
End well, succeed, as in Some brief courtships and hasty marriages turn up trumps. This expression alludes to card games in which trump cards are superior to cards of other suits. [Late 1700s]
To devise something fraudulently: The corrupt cop trumped up a charge of conspiracy against the people under arrest.
hold all the aces
tv. to be in control of everything. The boss holds all the aces on this deal.
trump something up
tv. to promote or boost something. (see also trumped up.) They trumped up the movie so much that many people were disappointed when it finally came out.
1. mod. heavily promoted; overly praised. That movie was so trumped up. I expected to see something much better than it turned out to be.
2. mod. made up; contrived. They put Larry in the slammer on some trumped up charge.