Learn about all the different terms used in bridge and just exactly what they mean.

Term Explanation
Bid A bid is an attempt to play the contract as the declarer. Whoever bids the highest ‘wins’ the right to play the hand in the suit (or NTs) that they bid.
Bidding The first part of the game that dictates the contract for the play.
Cashing tricks Playing winning tricks from your hand or from the dummy (if you are declarer).
Contract This is what dictates what suit are trumps and how many tricks are required for the declarer to succeed.
Cross-ruff Trumping in both the declarer hand and the dummy hand to make your trumps individually.
Declarer The player who is playing the hand. Their partner is the dummy who puts their cards face up on the table.
Defender The opponents to the declarer. Their job is to try and defeat the contract decided in the bidding by winning tricks.
Doubleton A suit holding with exactly two cards.
Dummy The hand that is face up in the play. The dummy’s cards are played as decided by the declarer (their partner).
Finesse Playing towards a suit combination that is missing an honour (eg AQ) and playing the lower of two possible cards in order to try and win a cheaper trick. Typically finesses have a 50% success rate.
Game A contract that meets the requirements of scoring the game bonus. These are 3NT, 4, 4♠, 5♣ and 5.
Grand slam When the contract is at the 7 level, ie declarer requires all 13 tricks to make. Grand slams yield a huge bonus score but are extremely rare.
HCP A initialism of ‘High Card Points’ – this is essentially the official way of saying points.
Honour A high card that has a ‘point value’ which are Jacks or above.
Jump A jump is a leap in the bidding, missing out a level on purpose to represent more points or more cards in a given suit.
Lead Whoever wins the previous trick is on lead to the next trick. They play the first card to the next trick and this card is of their choosing.
Level A level in the bidding dictates how many tricks the bid equates to. The 1 level is for 7 tricks, 2 level for 8 tricks and so on.
Major(s) Hearts and spades are called the ‘major suits’ because they score better than clubs and diamonds and are easier to make game in.
Minibridge A modified version of bridge where the bidding is skipped and the contract is decided by declarer when they see their dummy.
Minor(s) Clubs and diamonds are referred to as the minors because they are an inferior suit to play a contract in. This is because you score fewer points when choosing a minor suit as trumps.
NTs An initialism that stands for ‘No Trumps’. This is when a hand is played without a trump suit.
Opener The player who has opened the bidding.
Opening lead The first card in the play. This is led by the defender to the left of the declarer.
Overcall A bid by the side that did not open the bidding. This bid requires a long suit (5+) of good quality.
Overcaller The player who bid over their opponents’ opening bid.
Part score A contract that is not game or above. Typically this is when there are insufficient points in the declarer and the dummy’s hand to go for game.
Points How many points your hand has is an indication of how strong your hand it. An Ace is worth 4 points, a King is 3, Queen is 2 and Jack is 1.
Rebid Opener’s second bid.
Responder The player who is the partner of the opening bidder.
Ruff Another word for trumping in. When you ‘ruff’ something you have used a trump to try and win the trick as you are void of the suit that was led.
Singleton A suit holding with exactly one card.
Small slam Often called a ‘mini slam’. This contract requires you to make 12 tricks (or more) and yields a large bonus. Small slams are any contract at the 6 level.
Suit Spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs are examples of these.
Trick Where every player plays a card from their hand, the highest card wins that trick. There are 13 of these to each full hand of bridge.
Trumps The boss suit that can win tricks when the player doesn’t have to follow suit (they have ran out of the led suit). The highest trump played in any trick wins, if no trumps are played then it is just the highest card of the led suit that wins.
Void When you have no cards in any given suit. You could say that if you had no diamonds left in your hand (or to start with) then you are ‘void’ in diamonds, for example.
Winner(s) A card or cards that you expect to win a trick(s).