Above the line
Section of the scorecard reserved for penalties and bonuses.
A bidding system popular in the UK based on natural 1-level opening bids.
The first stage of a hand, where players take turns to bid in competition for the ultimate contract.
Balanced hand
A hand with a relatively equal number of cards in each suit (no five card suit, and at most one doubleton).
Below the line
Section of the scorecard where points for tricks bid and made are entered.
Any call made during the auction other than a pass - a suit, no trumps, double, or re-double.
Biddable suit
A suit with enough length and strength to suggest as a possible trump suit.
Bidding system
A set of defined meanings for bids and sequences of bids, e.g. Acol, Precision Club, Standard American.
Points scored for overtricks, penalties, games, rubbers, and slams.
An element of the auction - a pass or a bid.
To play off a winning card.
Competitive auction
An auction where both partnerships take part.
The final bid in the auction which determines the number of tricks to be made, and the trump suit.
An artificial bid which has a particular meaning, e.g. opening 2C (in Acol) shows a strong hand, not a biddable club suit.
The player who won the contract, who plays both hands of the partnership.
The partnership in opposition to declarer.
Playing a card not of the same suit as the card led, preferably to give useful information to partner.
The way the cards in a hand are divided between the suits. Often represented as four numbers which may be ordered according to suit (e.g. 4441, 4333).
Bids which have different meanings according to the context and bidding system, but are nominally intended to increase the stakes.
A holding of only two cards in a suit.
Drawing trumps
Continuing to lead trumps until the opponents have none left.
Deliberately withholding a high card which could have won the trick.
Declarer's partner, whose hand is laid face-up on the table after the opening lead.
Duplicate bridge
A form of bridge where partnerships play against other pairs, and the same hands are played by different groups of players. The aim is to achieve a better score on each hand than the other pairs who play the hand.
A winning card which enables the lead to be made from the hand holding it.
Setting up a card or cards as winners.
A technique of card play that aims to trap opponents' honour cards.
Where a partnership has at least eight cards in one suit between the two hands, they are said to have a "fit" in that suit.
Following suit
Playing a card in the same suit as the suit led (you must do this if you can).
Forcing bid
A bid that requires the bidder's partner to bid again. There are many levels of forcing, e.g. forcing for one round, forcing to game.
Free bid
A bid made in a situation where there is no obligation to bid.
100 or more points "below the line" in rubber bridge (or 100 or more points for the tricks bid and made on one hand in duplicate bridge). This is the target score.
A full deal; the auction and the play... OR a set of 13 cards held by one player.
High card point count/Point count/Points
A method of evaluating a hand according to the honour cards it contains (A = 4, K = 3, Q = 2, J = 1).
The top five cards in each suit (ace, king, queen, jack, ten).
Making a bid after the opponents have opened the bidding.
Jump bid
A bid that is at least one level higher than was necessary in that denomination.
Jump shift
A bid that is at least one level higher than was necessary in a different suit to the suit previously bid.
The first card to be played to a trick.
Limit bid
A bid that defines the strength of a hand (usually in terms of high card points).
Major suit
Hearts or spades.
Minor suit
Diamonds or clubs.
No trumps
A contract where there is no trump suit.
The player who makes the first bid (as opposed to pass).
Opening hand
A hand that is strong enough to open the bidding.
Opening the bidding
Making the first bid.
A bid that follows a bid made by the opponents.
Trick made by declarer above the number required for the contract.
"Team" of two players that sit opposite each other and (usually!) work together.
Pass/No bid
Call made during the auction when a player does not wish to bid.
Part score
The score awarded for any contract which is below game.
Points scored by defenders (above the line) when a contract is defeated.
The second stage of the hand, where the thirteen tricks are played.
Precision Club
A "strong club" bidding system, where a 1C opening shows a strong hand.
Pre-emptive bid
Obstructive bid, usually made with a weak hand.
A higher bid in a suit that partner has bid. Shows support for that suit.
Ranking Order
The order in which suits can outbid each other (Spades outrank Hearts, they both outrank Diamonds and everything outrank Clubs).
The second or subsequent bid made by any one player.
Making a bid when partner has opened.
To discard on a trick when holding a card in the suit led.
Rubber bridge
A form of bridge where two partnerships compete against each other. A rubber is the best of three games.
To take a trick with a trump (when holding no card in the suit led).
Semi-balanced hand
A hand with a 5332 distribution.
Either a bidding sequence, which is a series of bids (e.g. 1C-1H-1NT); OR a sequence of three or more consecutive cards in a suit.
Side suit
Any suit other than the trump suit.
A bid signifying that the bidder is too weak to make any more bids.
Holding only one card in a suit.
A contract which gives high bonuses if it is successful. Grand slam = 13 tricks, small slam = 12 tricks.
Standard American
A bidding system popular in America based on natural 1-level opening bids and 5-card majors.
A card or cards held in a suit that prevents the opponents "running" several tricks in that suit.
Holding of useful cards in partner's suit.
A combination of honour cards in a suit with gaps, e.g. AQJ.
Touching suits
Two suits that are adjacent in ranking order (e.g. hearts and diamonds, but not hearts and clubs).
Four cards, one from each player, played in clockwise rotation.
A card of the suit specified by the final contract.
Holding no cards in a suit.
When a partnership gets a game they become vulnerable. Before that they are non-vulnerable.
A hand that is not balanced or semi-balanced.
This is used to mean double when describing a bidding sequence, or to represent small unimportant cards, e.g. AKxx.