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Denotation vs. Connotation

trump card

[truhmp kahrd for 1; truhmp kahrd for 2] /ˈtrʌmp ˌkɑrd for 1; ˈtrʌmp ˈkɑrd for 2/
noun
1.
Cards. trump1 (def 1a).
2.
Informal. something that gives one person or group the advantage over another:
The surprise witness was his trump card.
Origin of trump card
1815-1825
1815-25
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for trump card
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In stock we had one trump card, and only one, and we played it many a time during that somewhat crowded day.

    The Glory of The Coming Irvin S. Cobb
  • But at this point the trump card he had been concealing in his sleeve was thrown on the table.

    Andrew Melville William Morison
  • Mammy will never let you, cried Eleanor, playing what she felt to be her trump card.

    Three Little Women Gabrielle E. Jackson
  • Had they snatched that trump card from their adversaries and were they going to play it?

    The Arbiter Lady F. E. E. Bell
  • Here, in the hotel General Deffenbaugh was holding in reserve Elmville's trump card.

    Roads of Destiny O. Henry
trump card in Culture

trump card definition


In general, something capable of making a decisive difference when used at the right moment; in certain card games, trump is the suit designated as having precedence over the others: “The prosecutor was about to win the case, when the defense lawyer produced her trump card: an eyewitness who testified that the accused was nowhere near the scene of the crime.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with trump card

trump card

A key resource to gain an advantage at the opportune moment, as in That surprise witness was the defense's trump card, or She played her trump card, announcing that the Senator would speak. This expression transfers the trump card of games such as bridge, which can win over a card of another suit, to other kinds of advantage. [ Early 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for trump card

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for trump

9
12
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