trump card

[ truhmp-kahrd for 1; truhmp-kahrd for 2 ]
See synonyms for trump card on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Informal. something that gives one person or group the advantage over another: The surprise witness was his trump card.

Origin of trump card

1
First recorded in 1815–25

Words Nearby trump card

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use trump card in a sentence

  • Suddenly, as the Count dealt a king as trump card, he sprang to his feet knocking over the chair behind him.

  • He produced it with gentle ostentation, as one would a trump card.

    Humour of the North | Lawrence J. Burpee
  • In stock we had one trump card, and only one, and we played it many a time during that somewhat crowded day.

    The Glory of The Coming | Irvin S. Cobb
  • The story of that Limfjord charter was her trump card, and never failed to quell Soren's faint attempts at retort.

    Dry Fish and Wet | Anthon Bernhard Elias Nilsen
  • Stillness, absolute immobility, was the trump-card to be always played in the wilderness when in doubt.

    Kings in Exile | Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

Cultural 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.

Other 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.