Main definitions of trump in English

: trump1trump2

trump1

noun

  • 1(in bridge, whist, and similar card games) a playing card of the suit chosen to rank above the others, which can win a trick where a card of a different suit has been led.

    ‘declarer ruffs the opening lead and plays a trump’
    • ‘The winner of the first trick must lead a trump to the second trick if he holds one.’
    • ‘If a trump is led, the other players may play any cards, and if several trumps are played to a trick the last one wins.’
    • ‘The suit of the card led by the pitcher to the first trick becomes trumps for that deal.’
    • ‘The player to the left of the dealer has the choice of playing with the given trump or passing.’
    • ‘If no one plays a trump, then the highest ranking card to the suit led wins the book.’
    • ‘In this case it is illegal for any player to a play a trump on the first trick.’
    1. 1.1trumps The suit of cards ranking above the others in a particular hand.
      ‘the ace of trumps’
      • ‘After the cut, the bottom card of the pack is shown to everyone and its suit is trumps.’
      • ‘There are five honours, viz: - Ace, King, Queen, Knave and Ten, if trumps are declared.’
      • ‘In scenario 3, if a person with 5 trumps has the Ace of trump, she starts.’
      • ‘Your opponent has only one card left and you know it is the ace of trumps.’
      • ‘After the deal the First player (sitting to the left of the dealer) declares how many of the six possible tricks he undertakes to win, and also chooses the trump suit or declares that the game will be played without trumps.’
    2. 1.2 (in a tarot pack) any of a special suit of 22 cards depicting symbolic and typical figures and scenes.
      • ‘Enchanters epitomize the tarot trump of ‘the fool’ relying on luck and intuition to guide their way.’
      • ‘The Fool can be looked at as either the first of the tarot trumps… or the last.’
      • ‘If using tarot cards, the trump suits of both decks are removed except for a single copy of The Fool.’
      • ‘The modern tarot pack comes from an Italian tarrochi deck with 22 trumps.’
      • ‘In the greater arcana of the tarot, Mercury is always associated with the first trump, the Magus or Juggler - names which sum up the extremes of the planet, sage and trickster.’
    3. 1.3 A valuable resource that may be used, especially as a surprise, in order to gain an advantage.
      ‘in this month General Haig decided to play his trump card: the tank’
      • ‘This was his trump card, and he wanted to make sure it got played, even if the commission was too docile to press for it.’
      • ‘The trump card that the elites have played over and over is white nationalism.’
      • ‘That was until Lancashire used their trump card - their spinners.’
      • ‘We will crush them with not just brute force, but we have a trump card.’
      • ‘However, the Beagle 2 team still has a trump card to play, Mars Express.’
      • ‘Party strategists are well aware his stewardship of the economy is their trump card.’
      • ‘They are all nodding away there, but the trump card is coming up.’
      • ‘But it's not really sinking in - they had to play their trump card last week to stay in people's minds.’
      • ‘The right to a free press is a political trump card and held by individuals against governments.’
      • ‘The trump card is nostalgia, but is that enough to carry a film?’
      • ‘His voice, as doleful as his bloodhound eyes, is his trump card.’
      • ‘Triumphantly, Vince plays his trump card: he has captured Jon's admission on tape.’
      • ‘That goal was the difference between the sides at the break but then Ballina played their trump card.’
      • ‘Their trump card is a close link with the government which can give them quick and exclusive access to official news and information.’
      • ‘My trump card is salmon fillets poached in the dishwasher and topped with a brightly flavored cilantro sauce.’
      • ‘Those favouring an armistice hoped that a negative reply from Roosevelt would deprive their opponents of a valuable trump card.’
      • ‘Of course, if the music isn't right then nothing else matters, and here is where The Conquerors play their trump card.’
      • ‘He left the field with a knee problem and should he be sidelined for the finals, the Roos will be without a real trump card.’
      • ‘The actor who went through a tough period earlier is now considered as the trump card for success in the industry.’
      • ‘Which brings us to his third trump card: his incredible facility with words.’
    4. 1.4dated, informal A helpful or admirable person.
      ‘Spencer's doctor is a trump—I am like a new man’
      • ‘"He's a trump!" said Clifford, "and if he swears the world is as good and pure as his own heart, I'll swear he's right."’
      • ‘"By Jove, he's a trump!" said the Inspector.’
      • ‘"He's a trump," said Dick, enthusiastically.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1(in bridge, whist, and similar card games) play a trump on (a card of another suit)

    ‘why on earth did you trump my ace?’
    ‘declarer trumped the last losing spade in dummy’
    no object ‘if he trumped with the 6 or 10, the opponents could overruff’
    • ‘You will eventually learn to keep track of which suits each player is trumping, what cards are still out against you, and how many more counters you need to pull to make your bid.’
    • ‘The fourth to play after a non-trump card has been trumped by his partner, when unable to either follow suit or overtrump, must undertrump even if his partner holds the trick.’
    • ‘If a plain suit lead has been trumped, it is illegal to undertrump unless by doing so one creates a K-Q or K-Q-J combination in the trick.’
    • ‘Players must follow suit, except that a non-trump lead may be trumped even if you have a card of the suit led.’
    • ‘For the sake of clarity, it is worth pointing out that where a lead of a plain suit has been trumped by the second player to a trick and the third to play also has no cards in the suit led, then the third player must still overtrump if possible.’
    1. 1.1 Surpass (something) by saying or doing something better.
      ‘if the fetus is human life, that trumps any argument about the freedom of the mother’
      • ‘I truly do believe that modernism trumps the traditional patriarchy because it is far more conducive to human happiness.’
      • ‘The result is a product which he claims trumps the competition in terms of taste and quality.’
      • ‘The trope of triumphing lovers is so powerful it trumps politics, bulldozing past the inconvenient facts of the law with the sheer force of its familiar imagery and narrative drive.’
      • ‘A favourable ruling could find that the free exercise clause of the First Amendment trumps any state's law that discriminates against non-public schools.’
      • ‘You would, to be sure, be implicitly admitting that social factors can easily trump intrinsic differences, except that you'd be thinking that these factors work in women's favor.’
      • ‘Yet he has proven that his conservative side trumps any alleged libertarian leanings, even when the topic is completely unrelated to the war on terrorism.’
      • ‘If their appearance trumps their stranger status, it is not because it signifies freedom, but because it signals that they belong to a recognizable counterculture.’
      • ‘It's a sad, sad thing, but often mindless trash trumps artistic merit.’
      • ‘But I believe that in such trying times as these precision of meaning trumps political correctness or delicacy of phrasing.’
      • ‘The law is a guide, but we need to have enough common sense, as Americans, to know when to trump legal arguments when there are obviously stronger moral and/or utilitarian arguments around.’
      • ‘I know that in many circles the security of the nation state trumps the rights of individuals, but what if YOU were one of those individuals mistakenly slain by those sworn to protect?’
      • ‘The intent behind the words trumps the facts they signify.’
      • ‘And as the original bike path fight demonstrates, his passion about the importance of lifestyle trumps his faith in more traditional arrangements.’
      • ‘From the Greeks, we learned that determination easily trumps the banter of cynics.’
      • ‘Convenience is one issue, as is ‘safety,’ one of those emotionally charged words that trumps any rational argument.’
      • ‘But the need for fresh cannon fodder apparently trumps common sense.’
      • ‘For ordinary sensible people, genuineness trumps a slick tongue every time.’
      • ‘The Southern judiciary countered the argument of natural law by evoking the argument that, within a democracy, positive law trumped natural law.’
      • ‘However limited, this success clearly trumps the failures of the more command-oriented policies.’
      • ‘Either way, the film's beauty usually trumps the poetic readings.’
      outshine, outclass, upstage, put in the shade, eclipse, surpass, outdo, outperform
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • come (or turn) up trumps

    • 1informal (of a person or situation) have a better performance or outcome than expected.

      ‘Conrad came up trumps again, finishing fourth in the 800 metres’
      • ‘After the shocking performances of Britain's male athletes, few expected them to come up trumps on the final day of track and field action.’
      • ‘Our athletes came up trumps across the board, with many admirable performances.’
      • ‘The actor, in danger of being written off as lightweight, throws everything he's got into his performance and comes up trumps.’
      • ‘The odds were heavily stacked against the Scottish company coming up trumps but it persevered and struck black gold when few expected it.’
      • ‘Early pressure from Malton failed to produce the expected try, but the boot of Ian came up trumps to open the scoring after five minutes with a good penalty.’
      • ‘But we've put the responsibility on him today of being captain and he's come up trumps.’
      • ‘The lads came up trumps with a solid performance that hopefully was a signal that our desire is still there.’
      • ‘Well done to their coach whose obvious hard work and dedication came up trumps with the girls turning in some high calibre performances to clinch another great title for the club.’
      • ‘From bands to solo singers, the event promises to be one to remember with rehearsals coming up trumps with some terrific performances.’
      • ‘Asia Pacific and Japan are expected to come up trumps in Q3-with year-on-year growth of 36 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively.’
      1. 1.1Be especially generous or helpful.
        ‘Mother had been absent throughout, but Aunt Edie had come up trumps’
        • ‘Many museums do not charge for entry and really come up trumps in the school holidays with imaginative programmes of children's events that combine fun and learning.’
        • ‘The people that have helped us have come up trumps and we are indebted to them.’
        • ‘One of the things these kids never fail to do is to turn up trumps for other people and they've done it again.’
        • ‘Last week he heard that two of the funding bodies have come up trumps.’
        • ‘In all my swimathons I have relied heavily on my colleagues at the research councils to sponsor me and they have always come up trumps.’
        • ‘But as ever, Swindonians have come up trumps when it comes to helping those who need support.’
        • ‘Fund-raisers have already come up trumps, raising enough money to buy for plastic matting, to stop Jack bruising as he, increasingly unstable, constantly falls.’
        • ‘However, while its cash may have technically saved the day, it is the director and his family who have come up trumps for the club once again.’
        • ‘Local businesses came up trumps once again with their generous gifts supporting the information centre.’
        • ‘I know that local people and local businesses will come up trumps.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • trump something up

    • Invent a false accusation or excuse.

      ‘they've trumped up charges against her’
      • ‘The charges were trumped up, the evidence flimsy.’
      • ‘He was subsequently sentenced to 15 years in jail over corruption and sodomy charges that he claims were trumped up.’
      • ‘A White House spokesman denied the nomination was lost and said the accusations had been trumped up by opponents of the president.’
      • ‘He is serving a 15-year jail term for corruption and sodomy, charges he claims were trumped up to end his political career.’
      • ‘I think the whole lot of charges have been trumped up.’
      • ‘He has claimed the charges were trumped up to prevent him from challenging the former Prime Minister.’
      • ‘He has denied all charges, which he claims were trumped up to end his political career.’
      • ‘A boy of 11 has been suspended from school for making a lewd gesture at a teacher, and she thinks the whole affair has been trumped up by kids who don't like him.’
      • ‘But last night his wife said through friends that the charge had been trumped up by the interim regime.’
      • ‘I do not say he is innocent of the charges brought against him, nor do I say those charges have been trumped up: I say that the crimes of which he has been found guilty do not amount to a hill of beans.’
      • ‘Supporters said the charges against the activists were trumped up.’
      • ‘But there was nothing Robby could do to help in his own defense, since the charges were trumped up and the only witnesses had been blackmailed to lie.’
      • ‘He had maintained that the charges were trumped up by the man and his cronies to prevent him from challenging the prime minister's rule.’
      • ‘I think it was trumped up, but I can't tell you who forged it.’
      • ‘Their families had always insisted that the charges were trumped up.’
      invent, make up, fabricate, concoct, contrive, manufacture, devise, hatch
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 16th century: alteration of triumph, once used in card games in the same sense.

Pronunciation

trump

/trʌmp/

Main definitions of trump in English

: trump1trump2

trump2

noun

archaic
  • A trumpet or a trumpet blast.

    • ‘The visual aspect also played its part at the start of the Third Reflection, when the three horns, representing the final trump, came in from the back and took their seats in the orchestra!’

verb

[no object]informal
  • Break wind audibly.

    • ‘Half asleep and looking up at him, I yawned a long, deep yawn and just as I closed my mouth and opened my eyes he relieved himself, not by burping or trumping however, but by throwing up into my face!’
    • ‘As morning broke in the windowless Bedsit, Emma peered wearily out of the bed they'd shared as Michelle trumped loudly and proudly into the already stale air.’
    • ‘If you were standing in a lift, and someone trumped loudly for half a minute continuously, would you say "yes, impressive!", or would you say "LET ME OUT OF HERE"?’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French trompe, of Germanic origin; probably imitative.

Pronunciation

trump

/trʌmp/