Definition of play the — card in US English:

play the — card


  • Exploit the specified issue or idea mentioned, especially for political advantage.

    ‘he resisted the temptation to play the race card’
    ‘playing the gender card is beneath you’
    ‘I knew that I was in trouble when my boss played the experience card’
    • ‘He'll probably play the human-rights card, but he should be careful.’
    • ‘In the face of growing concern about sluggish job growth and outsourcing to Asia, tech executives have settled on a far more potent strategy: They're playing the jobs card.’
    • ‘He angrily denied that he was playing the race card.’
    • ‘Many politicians have played the religious-national identity card to gain popular support.’
    • ‘‘They need to play the psyops card to combat the obvious military superiority that we've demonstrated to date,’ said a retired US army major who specialised in psychological operations.’
    • ‘In the local debate that's ensued, Henraux plays the jobs card, threatening to lay off 20 workers if it can't level the mountaintop.’
    • ‘It is not yet time to play the sanctions card.’
    • ‘And this is why those who have most benefited from playing the human rights card are those who already are assertive, intelligent, articulate and organised.’
    • ‘When she tried to play the victim card the response across America was ‘Oh, come on.’’
    • ‘These groups play the race card under the guise of concerns about immigration.’