play (one's) trump card

(redirected from played their 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"They (India) have played their trump card. They don't have any card to play now.
"They (India) have played their trump card, they don't have any card to play now.
Now they can reset the pressure and prepare for two upcoming tests with Spurs (after Crystal Palace away) knowing that Pochettino's side have already played their trump card with the stadium and only have a slender advantage to show for it.
But it was then the Eagles played their trump card.
Rugby World Cup organisers played their trump card in promoting next year's tournament, and the number of media sniffing around the former Falcons and England icon proved he has lost none of his trademark pulling power.
Sussex played their trump card straight away when Panesar opened but the wicket was not offering as much turn as expected.
Fulham chief executive Alistair Mackintosh travelled to Holland to conclude the negotiations but Ajax played their trump card by confirming Jol did not have a clause in his contract allowing him to leave as the west Londoners had believed.
But now the Giants have played their trump card with the arrival of former England and Salford Super League chief Karl Harrison to complete an incredible junior coaching set-up.
As the net closed in police played their trump card. In the days since Needham's recovery they picked up various petty criminals and known burglars and put them by his bedside.
Thankfully, the newcomers haven't played their trump card too early, as what follows is a tour-de-force of pop nuggets and melodies that will stick in your mind.
The seeded Swedes have played their trump card by putting weak link Mathias Gronberg against Westwood today, and we can rely on Per-Ulrik Johansson and Patrik Sjoland to produce the goods in the other two matches.
The Americans danced first and instantly played their trump card, the choreography of Balanchine.
But Galatasaray played their trump card when they sent on Umit Karan after the break and the sub blew the froth off the celebration beers with two goals that left Liverpool walking a tightrope for the last 25 minutes of the Group C clash.
JOB pulled it back as Steve Murphy equalised and then H&B played their trump card and brought on super sub Gary Birchall Snr, who showed the youngsters how to do it by grabbing the winner.