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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Teams want trump cards to be included in five- player retention
While she seems to be giving up the trump card of a baronet's eldest son, Tom's illness reveals that she has always had an eye for the main chance.
The stakeholders who really hold the trump card are the moneylenders, says geologist and author Simon Winchester, who believes that the most effective way to block a project is to convince investors to steer clear.
Areas such as stem cell research, where Japan has clear guidelines, could emerge as a trump card for the nation, and initiatives such as the formation of The Japan Biological Informatics Consortium (JBIC) help boost the Japanese focus on bioinformatics.
Why is this trump card never exploited on national television?
If people were told that their fate was "hell" as the three Fatima children saw it, they would probably say "no way" but that is the trump card that is needed to be played to correct our society and government.
Significantly, despite the Franciscan victory in the long struggle for control of Margherita's cult, the Cortonese held, and still hold, the trump card, her most precious relic, her body.
Giommi says the trump card the Sault holds over freight-transfer centres in southern Ontario is its direct single-line rail access to major U.S.
* Is removable, random-access media, like small diameter disks, the trump card for automated libraries?
Richards, a 21-year-old "ex-gay," was there as LaBarbera's trump card, testifying that he had changed his sexual orientation through intensive therapy and prayer.
11 on this year's BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $182.3 million in sales for 1999) realized that turning the tables on the way affiliates and networks do business was going to be his trump card. Many affiliate station owners can't understand why Cornwell offered to pay NBC a total of $362 million over the next 10 years for his San Jose-based KNTV to become an NBC affiliate.
A new trump card, "multifunctionality," is on the table.
It expresses a skepticism about political news that leads us to mistrust politicians' statements and to see their game as one that uses thousands of human lives as a trump card.
Senator Franz Leichter has been upset about the sewerage problem from the start and issued a report called "Trump Card or Royal Flush," on the development's sewerage impact.
Summary: Melbourne [Australia], Apr 20 (ANI): Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is proving to be a trump card for Delhi Capitals in Indian Premier League (IPL) with his ability to handle pressure in crunch overs.