Origin of trump

First recorded in 1520–30; unexplained variant of triumph
Related formstrump·less, adjective




a trumpet.
its sound.

verb (used without object)

to blow a trumpet.

Origin of trump

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English trompe < Old French < Old High German trumpa, variant of trumba trumpet; (v.) Middle English trompen < Old French tromper, derivative of trompe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trumps

Contemporary Examples of trumps

Historical Examples of trumps

  • If she had the ace of trumps in her hand at whist, she wouldn't say anything, child.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • "I offer you no violence," said the Admiral, smiling, as only the man who holds the trumps can smile.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • But de Quadra held the trumps, and was not easily intimidated.

  • You mean—no matter—I suppose the luckiest hand is not all trumps!

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • And how long do you give your trumps to sound before your Millennium dawns?

British Dictionary definitions for trumps


pl n

(sometimes singular) cards any one of the four suits, decided by cutting or bidding, that outranks all the other suits for the duration of a deal or game
turn up trumps (of a person) to bring about a happy or successful conclusion (to an event, problem, etc), esp unexpectedly




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)
(tr) to outdo or surpass
See also trumps, trump up
Derived Formstrumpless, adjective

Word Origin for trump

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


(intr) to produce a sound upon or as if upon the trumpet
(tr) to proclaim or announce with or as if with a fanfare
(intr) British slang to expel intestinal gas through the anus

Word Origin for trump

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

Word Origin and History for trumps



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



"fabricate, devise," 1690s, from trump "deceive, cheat" (1510s), from Middle English trumpen (late 14c.), from Old French tromper "deceive," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a verb meaning "to blow a trumpet." Related: Trumped; trumping. Trumped up "false, concocted" first recorded 1728.



"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

Idioms and Phrases with trumps


In addition to the idioms beginning with trump

  • trump card
  • trump up

also see:

  • hold all the aces (trumps)
  • turn up trumps
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.