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Bridge Terminolgy

Below  is a short list of some of the the terminology used in Bridge

For more comprehensive lists of terms you can try these links.

Wikipedia Glossary of contract bridge terms

Karen's Bridge Library - Bridge Glossary

Fun Bridge - Bridge Dictionary


The Bidding

Auction -- the entire round of bidding on a deal.

Bid -- a number (1 through 7) followed by the name of a suit or notrump (1, 3NT, 7♣, etc.).

Call -- any bid, pass, double or redouble.

Contract -- The statement of the pair who has won the bidding, that they will take at least the stated number of tricks. The contract consists of two components: the level, indicating the number of tricks to be taken, and the suit. The last bid in the bidding round becomes the final contract.  A bid becomes the final contract when it is followed by three passes.  For example the final contract of 4♠ means that the pair that won the biding has contracted to take 10 tricks (you calculate the number of tricks by adding 6 to the level), with spades as trumps.

Fit -- your fit in a suit is the combined number of cards in that suit held by you and your partner.  Generally you want at least an eight card fit for a trump suit.

Opening bid -- the first bid that is not a pass. The player who makes this bid is called the Opener.

Response -- a bid made after partner has opened the bidding. The player who makes this bid is called the Responder

Single (or simple) raise -- to bid partner's suit at the lowest level available

Jump bid -- to bid at a higher level than necessary

Rebid a suit -- when you bid your own suit again at a higher level (showing extra length)

Invitational bid - a bid that invites partner to bid on if he or she has extra strength

Cue-bid -- when you bid the opponents suit (this has various meanings); also when you have established a fit in a suit, bidding a new suit is also called a cue-bid, often showing an Ace in that suit.

Game -- a game contract is one where you have contracted to make at least 100 points - 3NT, 4♥, 4, 5♣, or 5.

Slam -- a slam contract is where you have contracted to make 12 of the 13 possible tricks - i.e. a bid at the 6-Level.

Grand Slam -- a grand slam contract is where you have contracted to make all 13 of tricks - i.e. a bid at the 7-Level.


The Play

Declarer -- the player who first named the suit (or notrump) specified in the final contract.

Dummy -- declarer's partner. Dummy does not participate in the play. After the bidding is completed and the opening lead is made, dummy places his cards face-up on the table, sorted into suits, and they are played by declarer.

Defenders -- opponents of declarer.

LHO and RHO -- acronyms for Left-Hand Opponent and Right-Hand Opponent.  You might also see a derisory reference to CHO - Centre-Hand Opponent, i.e. your partner.

North, South, East and West -- the four players are often named after the compass points.  Each Bridge Club has a direction designated as North.

Board -- a hand of bridge is often called a board, because the cards are usually pre-dealt and stored in container called a board.

Trick -- four cards, one contributed by each player in turn (clockwise around the table). The highest card of the suit led (or the highest trump) wins the trick. The player who wins (or takes) the trick chooses the card to lead to the next trick. There are 13 tricks in each deal.

Lead -- the first card played to a trick. Each of the other three players must follow (in clockwise order) by playing a card of that suit if they have one.  The player that wins a trick, must lead to the next trick.

Opening lead -- the card that starts the first trick of a deal, after the bidding is over. The opening leader is the player to the left of declarer.

Trump suit -- the suit named in the final contract.

Notrumps -- a contract played without a trump suit. The highest card of the suit led wins the trick.

Trumping (or ruffing) -- playing a trump on a non-trump-suit trick. A trump can be played only when the trump suit is led or when you cannot follow to the lead of another suit (you have no cards remaining in the suit led). A trump beats any card in any other suit. If a trick contains more than one trump, the highest trump wins the trick.

Discard (or pitch or sluff) -- to play a non-trump card when you cannot follow to the suit led.

Finesse -- to win a trick with a card when the opponent's hold a higher card

Underleading  -- to lead a lower card when you have a high card.  Beginners are taught not to underlead their Aces. also refered to as Leading Away from an Ace.

Revoke (or renege) -- to fail to follow suit when you hold one or more cards in the suit led.  This is against bridge rules.


The Cards in Your Hand

Suits -- Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs, often abbreviated as S,H,D,C or ♠,,,♣

Honours -- Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten, often abbreviated A,K,Q,J and 10 or T.

Majors -- the Spades and Hearts suits

Minors - the Clubs and Diamonds suits

High-card points -- the total point-count of the honours (AKQJ) in your hand, where Ace=4, King=3, Queen=2 and Jack=1.  There are 40 total points in a deck of cards, and an average hand would have 10 points.

Void -- to have none of a suit in your hand.

Singleton -- a one-card suit.  Also refered to as a Stiff.

Doubleton -- a two-card suit.

Balanced hand -- having no void or singleton suits and (usually) no more than one doubleton (the balanced hand shapes are 4333, 4432 or 5332 where the numbers refer to the number of cards held in each suit)

Unbalanced (distributional) hand -- any hand that isn't balanced.  These include two-suiters (5-5-2-1 or 6-5-2-0, etc.) and other hands with voids, singletons, and/or long suits (6+cards), and the relatively rare three-suited hand, 4441.

Beer Card -- the Diamond 7.  If you win the last trick with the 7 your partner owes you a beer, provided you made your contract and diamonds were not trumps.

Stoppers -- stoppers are high cards that can win a trick and prevent the opponent's from taking a lot of tricks in that suit.

Yarborough -- a hand with no honours.  Named after Charles Anderson Worsley, Second Earl of Yarborough (1809-1897).  You will be dealt a Yarborough once every 1828 hands, on average.

Bidding Conventions

Stayman -- the bid of 2♣ in response to partner's 1NT opening bid (or 1NT overcall).  Asks for partner to bid a 4-card major otherwise to bid 2♦ without one.

Transfer bid -- most commonly the bid of 2♦ or 2♥ in response to partner's opening bid of 1NT (over 1NT overcall).  Asks partner to bid the next suit up (♥ or ♥ respectively)

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