Definition of three-card trick in US English:

three-card trick


  • A game traditionally associated with con men, in which the dealer shows the player three cards then moves them around face-down, the player being obliged to pick the specified card from among the three.

    Also called monte
    • ‘With elections in the air again, the party is rolling out the old three-card trick.’
    • ‘He called the whole thing: ‘The best three-card trick I've seen in a long time.’’
    • ‘If you play a three-card trick in the middle of the street, people are basically playing you; they think they can win, get one up on you.’
    • ‘What these businessmen have somehow managed to do is pull off is possibly the most audacious and lucrative three-card trick in history.’
    • ‘He accused them of rewriting history after what he called a failed three-card trick in the general election in May.’
    • ‘Perhaps the most famous of such crooked games is find the lady or the three-card trick, which I have seen played in street markets in Morocco, on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and in many other places.’
    • ‘We should not fall for the propagandist's three-card trick, which as Aldous Huxley put it is to ‘make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human’.’