trump card

[ truhmp kahrd for 1; truhmp kahrd for 2 ]
/ ˈtrʌmp ˌkɑrd for 1; ˈtrʌmp ˈkɑrd for 2 /

noun

Informal. something that gives one person or group the advantage over another: The surprise witness was his trump card.

Origin of trump card

First recorded in 1815–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trump card

Culture definitions for trump card

trump card


In general, something capable of making a decisive difference when used at the right moment; in certain card games, trump is the suit designated as having precedence over the others: “The prosecutor was about to win the case, when the defense lawyer produced her trump card: an eyewitness who testified that the accused was nowhere near the scene of the crime.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with trump card

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]

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