trump card

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trump card

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.
See also: card, trump

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]
See also: card, trump

someone's trump card

COMMON Your trump card is something which gives you an important advantage over other people and makes it very likely that you will succeed. After only two days, the distribution of goods was suffering: and that is the railwaymen's trump card. He said that the measure was his trump card in his plan to prevent electoral fraud. Note: You can say that someone holds the trump card when they have an advantage like this. In terms of passion and commitment, Ireland held every trump card. Note: If someone plays their trump card, they do something unexpected which gives them an important advantage over other people. She could threaten to play her trump card, an autobiography that would embarrass many important people. Note: In card games such as whist and bridge, one of the four suits is chosen as trumps for each hand. Cards of that suit then rank higher than cards of the other three suits.
See also: card, trump

a/your ˈtrump card

something that gives you an advantage over other people, especially when they do not know what it is and you are able to use it to surprise them: Many schools use small classes as their trump card in marketing campaigns.He waited until the last minute to play his trump card and tell them about his plans to cut costs.
In some card games, one of the four suits is chosen to have a higher value than the others. The cards in that suit are trump cards.
See also: card, trump
References in periodicals archive ?
But most of the franchises aren't happy with the development and they have asked the IPL governing council to reconsider the decision and have forwarded the proposal of restricting the retention -- including usage of the trump card -- to five players.
Lynch suggests that the trump card that Fanny tries to sell William is the same queen that Henry had just refused to purchase from Mary on Lady Bertram's behalf; Fanny must have bought it from Mary while Henry's attention was otherwise engaged (22).
This match is notable because her uncle believes her to be "at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim" to Sir Thomas, indicating she got her trump card at a bargain (3).
As Maria Ward's success indicates, for female players a trump card in the marriage market is a man with title, wealth, and property.
But the air has finally been cleared as each team will now be allowed to retain eight players five under the retention clause and three thanks to trump cards.
While it was common knowledge that franchises would be allowed to retain five players from their existing roster, not too many were sure about the number of trump cards -- a new concept -- they would be allowed to use.
We spoke about retaining eight players in total, with the help of three trump cards.
The Chancellor's allies say he holds the trump cards because Mr Blair has signed up to the "five tests" rule.