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[truhmp] /trʌmp/
  1. any playing card of a suit that for the time outranks the other suits, such a card being able to take any card of another suit.
  2. Often, trumps. (used with a singular verb) the suit itself.
Informal. a fine person; brick.
verb (used with object)
Cards. to take with a trump.
to excel; surpass; outdo.
verb (used without object)
  1. to play a trump.
  2. to take a trick with a trump.
Verb phrases
trump up, to devise deceitfully or dishonestly, as an accusation; fabricate:
Try as they might, they were unable to trump up a convincing case against him.
Origin of trump1
1520-30; unexplained variant of triumph
Related forms
trumpless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for trump up
Historical Examples
  • With the aid of necessity, I have seen them trump up geological disquisitions.

    A Tour Through The Pyrenees Hippolyte Adolphe Taine
  • Nowadays, it's as much as he can do to trump up henergy to let off a single damn.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • If we hang around here for another day they'll trump up another fake charge an' clean us out!

    Square Deal Sanderson Charles Alden Seltzer
  • I must trump up some business with the proprietor as an excuse for coming in.

    The Art of Amusing Frank Bellew
  • In most cases nothing was easier than to trump up a false charge against any one whom the Emperor desired to ruin.

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • I can trump up some excuse to mother about not staying all night with you, as I intended.

    The Night Riders Henry C. Wood
  • Obsequious menials might even set the dogs at him, or trump up a charge against him and put him in jail.

    The Life of Thomas Wanless, Peasant Alexander Johnstone Wilson
  • After all was said and done she could trump up an excuse if she was discovered.

    A Traitor's Wooing Headon Hill
  • "To hear what lies you could trump up," replied Kendal boldly.

    Pretty Madcap Dorothy Laura Jean Libbey
  • At the same time, he had to trump up an objection to the flat.

    The March Family Trilogy, Complete William Dean Howells
British Dictionary definitions for trump up

trump up

(transitive, adverb) to concoct or invent (a charge, accusation, etc) so as to deceive or implicate someone


Also called trump card
  1. any card from the suit chosen as trumps
  2. this suit itself; trumps
Also called trump card. a decisive or advantageous move, resource, action, etc
(informal) a fine or reliable person
to play a trump card on (a suit, or a particular card of a suit, that is not trumps)
(transitive) to outdo or surpass
See also trumps, trump up
Derived Forms
trumpless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: variant of triumph


a trumpet or the sound produced by one
the last trump, the final trumpet call that according to the belief of some will awaken and raise the dead on the Day of Judgment
(intransitive) to produce a sound upon or as if upon the trumpet
(transitive) to proclaim or announce with or as if with a fanfare
(intransitive) (Brit, slang) to expel intestinal gas through the anus
Word Origin
C13: from Old French trompe, from Old High German trumpa trumpet; compare trombone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for trump up



"playing card of a suit ranking above others," 1520s, alteration of triumph, name of a card game.

"trumpet," c.1300, from Old French trompe "long, tube-like musical wind instrument" (12c.), cognate with Provençal tromba, Italian tromba, all probably from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German trumpa and Old Norse trumba "trumpet"), of imitative origin.


"surpass, beat," 1580s, from trump (n.). Related: Trumped; trumping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with trump up

trump up

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.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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