trump card

Any card game in which one card or suit ranks the highest has a trump card, the card that wins a hand. You can also use the phrase metaphorically, to describe some secret advantage you have.

If you play a trump card during a game of Spades, it means that you take the whole trick — in other words, you'll pick up every card on the table. Outside of card games, this phrase can refer to any resource that provides you with a clear advantage. For example, you might think of your mom's homemade brownies as your trump card when you're trying to convince your friends to come over after school. Trump card comes from an old card game called "triumph," shortened to just trump in the 1500's.

Definitions of trump card
  1. noun
    a playing card in the suit that has been declared trumps
    synonyms: trump
    see moresee less
    type of:
    playing card
    one of a pack of cards that are used to play card games
  2. noun
    a final factor or resource that determines an outcome
    synonyms: trump
    see moresee less
    type of:
    resource
    a source of aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed
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