To trump is to outrank or defeat someone or something, often in a highly public way. Safety might trump appearance when you're buying a car, or your desires may trump your brother's when it comes to making weekend plans.

In the card game bridge, the trump card is the most powerful card in a particular round and defeats all the others — sort of like when your needs or wishes trump someone else's. Originally trump implied a deceptive form of victory involving cheating, but that sense has been largely lost, though it's still around in the term trumped up, meaning something that's been falsely made up. A politician may face trumped up charges that could ruin his career.

Definitions of trump
  1. verb
    get the better of
    synonyms: best, outdo, outflank, scoop
    see moresee less
    outmaneuver, outmanoeuvre, outsmart
    defeat by more skillful maneuvering
    surpass in generalship
    type of:
    beat, beat out, crush, shell, trounce, vanquish
    come out better in a competition, race, or conflict
  2. verb
    play a trump
    synonyms: ruff
    see moresee less
    play a trump higher than (one previously played) to the trick
    trump alternately in two hands
    type of:
    go, move
    have a turn; make one's move in a game
  3. noun
    a playing card in the suit that has been declared trumps
    “the ace of trumps is a sure winner”
    synonyms: trump card
    see moresee less
    type of:
    playing card
    one of a pack of cards that are used to play card games
  4. noun
    (card games) the suit that has been declared to rank above all other suits for the duration of the hand
    “clubs were declared trumps
    “a trump can take a trick even when a card of a different suit is led”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    playing card in any of four sets of 13 cards in a pack; each set has its own symbol and color
  5. noun
    a final factor or resource that determines an outcome
    synonyms: trump card
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a source of aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed
  6. noun
    a brass musical instrument with a brilliant tone; has a narrow tube and a flared bell and is played by means of valves
    synonyms: cornet, horn, trumpet
    see moresee less
    an obsolete bass cornet; resembles a snake
    type of:
    brass, brass instrument
    a wind instrument that consists of a brass tube (usually of variable length) that is blown by means of a cup-shaped or funnel-shaped mouthpiece
  7. verb
    proclaim or announce with or as if with a fanfare
    synonyms: trump out
    see moresee less
    type of:
    announce, denote
    make known; make an announcement
  8. verb
    produce a sound as if from a trumpet
    see moresee less
    type of:
    go, sound
    make a certain noise or sound
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week