Definitions and Terminology

Following are the definitions, phrases and terms used by bridge players to describe certain acts, actions and procedures during the bidding auction and the actual play of the cards. Their definitions are universal and the hope is that they have been defined for the most part in an understandable manner.

The list is by no means complete. The learning bridge student may read other definitions with a different wording. Please, by all means, do not place the words on the justice scales to weigh their validity, but rather realize that the essence of the definitions remain the same no matter how they are worded. The message is the same although there may be different messengers.

Above the Line: the scoring of points won for overtricks, penalties and bonuses, such as in Rubber Bridge.

Active Defense: the approach by the Defenders when they realize that the Declarer intends to discard losing tricks by ruffing or through a long suit.

Adjusted Score: this is an arbitrary score awarded by the Director for different kinds of irregularities as stated in Law 12 of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. The adjusted score can be artificial or assigned.

Alert: an informative announcement or notification to the opponents, specified by the sponsoring organization. Opponents need to be notified of any Partnership Agreement as to the personal bidding treatment.

Attitude: a defensive signal that shows a preference or non-preference for a certain suit.

Auction: the process of establishing the Contract by means of successive calls.

Avoidance: a techniques used by the Declarer to keep one particular opponent from gaining the lead.

Balanced Hand: a hand which contains no void, no singleton, and no more than one doubleton.

Balancing: means of re-entering the auction after the opponents have ceased bidding at a low level based on the assumption that Partner has some values.

Below the Line: the scoring of points that count toward making a game, as in Rubber Bridge.

Bid: a call in the auction which promises to win at least a specified number of odd tricks in a specified suit or No Trump.

Board: in Duplicate Bridge, a numbered container with four slots for holding 13 cards each designating dealer, position and vulnerability for all four players, as described in Law 2 of Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

Book: the first six tricks won by the Declarer's side equals his book. For the opponents it equals the number of tricks they must make before they begin to score undertricks.

Broken Sequence: a sequence of cards such as QJ9 containing a gap between the lowest and second highest in the sequence.

Broken Suit: a suit containing no cards adjacent in rank.

Business Double: a penalty double.

Call: any action or bid, double, redouble or pass in the auction.

Captain: this signifies the bidding principle that the teammate of the Partner who has limited his hand in any manner assumes the responsibility of placing the Contract.

Contract: the number of odd tricks above book which Declarer undertakes to win in a specified suit or No Trump and the number of odd tricks specified in the final Contract.

Convention: any call or bid to which an artificial meaning is assigned and that serves, by Partnership Agreement, to convey a meaning which may or may not be related to the denomination bid.

Cross-ruff: a play technique in which Declarer trumps losing tricks after a void in one hand has been established or a void in both hands has been established.

Cuebid: a bid of a suit in which a control card is held; a bid of an opponent's suit signifying a certain distribution.

Deal: the distribution of 52 cards face down, starting to the left and dealt clockwise, to all four players.

Declarer: the player who has won the final bid and who has first bid the denomination named in that suit. But review Law 54A of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

Defender: the opponent of the declarer.

Denomination: the suit or No Trump specified in a bid.

Director: the person designated for the supervision of a duplicate bridge contest and who is responsible for the application of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

Discard: any card played that is not of the suit led nor of the trump suit.

Double Finesse: any combination of plays where the declarer finesses against two missing honors.

Double Squeeze: a type of squeeze in which both defenders is squeezed in turn.

Double: a call over an opponent's bid which increases the scoring value of fulfilled or defeated contracts; an artificial call informing partner of certain distribution and/or strength.

Doubleton: a holding of two cards in a suit.

Draw Trumps: a playing techniques by which declarer leads trump and forces the opponents to follow suit until all trump cards are accounted for.

Dummy: declarer's partner. He becomes dummy after the opening lead is faced. The term also is used for the 13 faced cards placed on the table.

Dummy Reversal: a play technique by which declarer makes tricks by ruffing several times in his hand and ultimately drawing trumps with dummy's trump holding.

Duplicate Bridge: an event or contest at which identical hands are played several times by different players, which allows for a comparison of the results.

Echo: also known as the High-Low Signal and is a high-low sequence of play used by a defender to signal either count or attitude.

Endplay: a play techniques by which a trick is gained through deliberately giving an opponent the lead in a position where the opponent has no safe exit.

Entry: a card of the declarer used as transportation from his hand to the dummy or from dummy to declarer's hand. A card used by the opponents as a means of gaining the lead.

Equals: cards that are adjacent in rank or become adjacent after the cards that separate them have been played.

Event: a contest of one or more sessions.

False Carding: a card played by the declarer or opponents with the intent to deceive.

Finesse: a maneuver by which it is assumed to win a trick with an immediate card by playing that card after one opponent has played to that card.

Fit: a majority holding between two players that strongly suggests that the suit will acceptably serve as the trump suit.

Five-Card Majors: the fundamental principle of the 5-Card American Standard System in which an opening bid of 1 Spade or 1 Heart promises five or more cards in length.

Following Suit: the first responsibility of each player is to play a card of the same suit, if possible, that was lead to the trick.

Forcing Bid: any bid or call that compels or forces partner to take further action.

Forcing Defense: a strategy of the defenders by attempting to delete the declarer of his trump cards by repeatedly forcing him to ruff.

Forcing Pass: a pass after an opponent's bid which compels partner to double the opponents or to bid again.

Game: 100 or more points scored on one deal.

Game Try: an invitational bid that suggests interest in game and requests partner to reevaluate his holding and then set the final contract.

Hand: the original 13 cards dealt to a player or the remaining portion thereof.

High Card Point Count: a method of hand evaluation by which a certain mathematical value is assigned to each honor.

Honor: the face cards of the deck: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten.

Hold-Up: the refusal by either declarer or any opponent to win the trick in order to disrupt and confuse the strategy of the declarer or the communication of the opponents.

Inference: a conclusion deduced logically from the bidding or the actual play.

Interior Sequence: a holding such as AQJ10 in which the sequence is accompanied by a higher honor.

Intermediates: the cards that may become high or winners after the cards that outrank them have been played.

Invitational Bid: a bid that requests partner to continue to game or slam with the maximum of his values.

Irregularity: a deviation from the correct procedures as established in the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

Jump Overcall: any suit bid made at a level higher than expected after an opponent has opened the bidding.

Jump Shift: a jump of one level in a new suit by the opening bidder. A jump of one level in a new suit by responder. Both actions imply great strength.

Leg: a fulfilled part score in Rubber Bridge.

Lead: the first card played to a trick, usually face down asking partner if he must lead first.

Limit Bid: any bid that promises, by Partnership Agreement, a pre-agreed amount of high-card strength or suit length.

Limit Raise: a raise of partner's opening bid with defined limits of strength.

Majors Suits: Spades and Hearts.

Matchpoint: a unit of scoring awarded to a contestant as a result of comparison with one or more other scores.

Maximum: holding the greatest amount of possible values for one's previous bidding.

Minimum: holding the least amount of possible values for one's previous bidding.

Minor Suits: Diamonds and Clubs.

Odd Trick: each trick that is to be won by declarer in excess of six, which is book.

Opening Lead: the faced card lead to the first trick by the opponent to declarer's left.

Opponent: a player of the other side. RHO is the right hand opponent and LHO is the left hand opponent.

Overcall: any bid of any suit after the opponents have opened the bidding but before partner has taken any action.

Overtrick: each trick won by the declarer in excess of the contract.

Partner: the player with whom one plays as a team against the other two players.

Part Score: a contract below the level of game and with 90 or less trick points scored on one deal.

Pass: a call during the auction specifying that the player does not, at that turn, decide to bid, double or redouble.

Passed Out: a deal, where no player decides to make a call or bid.

Passive Defense: a strategy of the defenders whereby dummy is short of winners and the defense can postpone taking its winners.

Penalty: an obligation or restriction placed upon a side, usually by the director, for a violation of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

Penalty Card: a card prematurely exposed by a defender which can either be a Major or Minor Penalty Card depending on Law 50 of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

Penalty Double: a double made for a larger penalty in scoring points.

Point Count: any method of hand evaluation by which a numerical value is assigned to the possible trick taking features of a certain hand.

Preemptive Bid: any legal bid at a high level informing partner of distribution but which also obstructs the communication between the opponents.

Premium Points: any points earned other than trick points such as bonus points for slam, overtricks and fulfilled game and part score contracts.

Psychic Bid: a deliberate and gross misstatement of honor strength or suit length, which is not condoned by sanctioned events.

Raise: a bid in the same suit or No Trump that partner has bid, which often establishes that suit as trumps.

Rebid: to bid the same suit a second time; any bid made at one's second turn.

Rectification: an adjustment made usually by the Director to allow the auction or play to continue as normally as possible after an irregularity has occurred.

Redeal: any second or subsequent deal to replace a faulty deal.

Redouble: a call over an opponent's double thereby increasing the scoring value of a fulfilled or defeated contract.

Responder: the partner of the opening bidder.

Revoke: the play of a card of another suit by a player who is able to follow suit or to comply with a lead penalty.

Ruff: term meaning to trump.

Ruff and Sluff: the lead of a suit in which declarer and dummy are void, which allows the declarer to discard a loser from the hand of his choice while he ruffs in the other.

Sacrifice: any deliberate but calculated overbid, but an overbid in which the declarer expects to be penalized fewer scoring points than the opponents would score if permitted to play their contract.

Sequence: three or more cards adjacent in rank whereby the highest ranking card is an honor.

Signal: any discard or play of a card which conveys to the partner any of several conventional understandings through which the defenders exchange information regarding attitude, preference, length, etc.

Singleton: a holding of only one card in a suit.

Slam: any contract to win six odd tricks, called a Small Slam, or seven odd tricks, called a Grand Slam.

Spot Card: any card below the rank of an honor.

Squeeze: a play technique, mostly used by the declarer, whereby the defenders are forced to discard a winner.

Stopper: a card or combination of cards that will produce a trick in a suit.

Takeout Double: a double that requests partner not to pass but to choose a suit.

Temporize: a bid by a player who aims to gain more information from his partner, and who has no other appropriate bid available. Also known as a Waiting Bid.

Tenace: two cards in the same suit whereby one card ranks two degrees lower than the other card. A Major Tenace is Ace - Queen and a Minor Tenace is King - Jack.

Third Hand: during the auction it is the partner of the dealer. During the play it is the partner of the opponent who leads.

Third-Seat Opening: an opening bid after two passes and may be, by Partnership Agreement, based on minimum values.

Trap Pass: any pass made with substantial values, which may include strength in the opponent's suit, in the hope of defeating the contract or of making a possible successful penalty double.

Treatment: any natural bid that indicates a desire to play in the denomination named, but that also, by Partnership Agreement, gives or asks for additional information on which further action may be based.

Trick: four cards played in sequence, one by each player at the table in clockwise rotation.

Trumps: the suit determined by the auction to be that of the contract.

Trump Echo: the high-low sequence of play in the trump suit by any opponent to show and odd number of trumps.

Turn: the correct time a player may make a call or play.

Unblock: the play by the declarer or defenders with the goal of allowing the uninterrupted run of a long suit through proper play.

Undertricks: tricks that declarer has bid but has failed to take.

Void: a suit in which no cards are held.

Vulnerability: the condition in the scoring, achieved when one game has already been won.