play (one's) trump card

(redirected from play his trump card)

play (one's) trump card

To use a particular stratagem or resource that will give one a distinct 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'm expecting a big revelation during tomorrow's testimony. I was looking like I would get full custody of the kids, but then Mary played her trump card—pictures of me going in and out of various women's houses around the city.
See also: card, play, trump

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.
See also: card, play, trump
References in periodicals archive ?
But Odell's decision to play his trump card early was vindicated by the ecstatic momentum it created.
Meath boss McEnaney is keen to shrug off the Geraghty factor and simply focus on football - but he's sure to play his trump card at some stage.
In 1992, with foreign policy off the table, the Bush economic record a perceived failure, and Ross Perot running on protectionism and populism, Bush refused to play his trump card with the Clintons: the social and moral issues he and Lee Atwater had used to beat poor Dukakis senseless in 1988.
They instinctively seem to realise they are unwilling to hurt them, in just the same way that McIntosh Junior can play his trump card ('Aaaaah, you're hurting mewhenever he feels like avoiding something.
Anyway, the stage is set for Sharon to play his trump card, as Bush is in trouble in Iraq, with the resistance to the US occupation of Iraq reaching levels beyond the capability of even the American might to suppress.
And when a really tough question came up, about why a journalistic row ended in suicide, he would play his trump card. That Andrew Gilligan's now discredited story was not just wrong but almost treacherous.
But Ronnie has yet to play his trump card, a groundbreaking scheme to "tag" every young person between 11 and 17 and survey them 24:7.
M (Bernard Lee) knows it's time to play his trump card and get 007 (Moore) on the case.
It was time for Lee to play his trump card on Amberleigh House who finally appeared on the scene and, staying on strongly, struck the front 100 yards out to win, going away, by three lengths from Clan Royal.