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Bridge can be as bad as NASA for confusing acronyms and lingo! Welcome to the Jargon Jungle - a glossary of bridge terms designed to help you hack your way through to a better understanding of the game of bridge. Just click on the first letter of the word you wish to find!  Each letter of the alphabet reloads the page.

Also, if you would like to suggest a term not presently included on the list, or see a correction that needs to be made, please drop us a note.


Declarer: The player, in the partnership which won a contract, who plays both his hand and the dummy hand.

Discard: Any card played when one does not have the suit that is led. Discards (or carding) can have many specific meanings depending on system and partnership agreement.For information on various carding systems, visit the Australian Bridge Archive.

Distribution: The amount of cards one has in each suit. A hand is considered distributional when one has considerable length in one or more suits and shortness in others.

DONT: Acronym for Disturb Opponents No Trump. A convention used over opponents opening NT bid to show 5 card suits.
X = a one-suited hand (no longer for penalties)
2C = 2 suits; clubs and one of the higher suits
2D = 2 suits; diamonds and one major
2H = hearts and spades
2S = spades

Basically it shows 5 cards in each of the 2 suits. When doubling to show a one-suited hand, you should have the equivalent of an opening bid and a good suit. After the double, partner should bid 2 clubs, which is alertable, and simply means: partner bid your suit.) For more information, visit (NEED WORKING ARCHIVE LINK).

Double: A bid technique. Various kinds, however all doubles not for penalty are considered conventional.  Some examples:

Balancing Double/Balancing Bid: Making a bid in position where passing would end the bidding (ie: 1D-P-P-?). The requirements for balancing (with a double or otherwise) are always less than bidding in the middle of a live auction. The reason for this is that here the opponents have given up in a part score, so you can assume that your partner has some good cards. In a live auction they may be going to game and your partner may be totally bust (a really bad hand).

Business Double: - Same as a penalty double (i.e. I mean business).

Lead Directing Double: A double which asks partner to lead a specific suit. Often these will be doubles of artificial or Q-bids made by your right hand opponent. The most common would be a double of stayman (2C over 1NT) which says, "Partner, I have clubs". A double like this does not usually ask to compete in the auction, but may be made on something like KQTxx of clubs and not much else.

Lightner Double: Almost always used when opponents have bid to a slam. They are made by partner of opening leader and always ask for an unusual lead. Many times that player will be void in a suit. Very often it will specifically ask for the lead of dummy's first bid suit (doubler may have AQ of suit, or K with outside A, or be void).

Negative Double: Used after partner bids and opponents overcall - shows 4 cards in the unbid major.

Optional double: Simply means a double that can be passed, or not, by partner. In a sense, all doubles are optional, but some more so than others.

Penalty Double: Used when you think you can set (prevent them from making) opponents contract.

Responsive Double: A specialized bid for more advanced players which allows partnerships to decide whether to compete for part score, go to game, or defend.

Support Double: - A specialized bid for more advanced players. Used when you have opened the bidding and partner has responded, and your right hand opponent has bid. A double at this point shows 3 cards in partners suit (ie: 1D-P-1S-2C-X). To bid 2S would show 4 spades (and no extra values beyond opening hand). To pass or bid anything else would deny having as many as 3 spades.

Takeout Double: - Used after opponents bid to indicate support in unbid suits.

Double Dummy: For declarer to play as if she can see all four hands. This term can be literal (a double dummy problem) or figurative ("He played it double dummy," - as if he could see all four hands).

Doubleton: Having two cards in a suit.

Drury: A convention used to verify if third and fourth seat openers have full opening hand values.  Often players will open with fewer points than usually required for an opening bid when they are in third or fourth seat after two passes.

With a good hand in support of opener (usually a limit raise, 10-12 HCP or better, and 3 or more trumps) responder bids 2C - an artificial bid. It asks partner to describe his hand. With less than opening HCP, opener bids 2D. With a legitimate opening HCP count, opener bids anything else.

Many people play reverse Drury, which simply reverses responses (ie: with fewer points than usually required for an opening bid, opener would rebid the opening suit and any other bid indicates a legitimate opening HCP count).

Duck: To purposely play a low card instead of playing a higher winning card.

Dummy: In a partnership which is playing a contract, this is the non-Declarer hand. After bidding is completed, the dummy hand is laid on the table for all players to see. The Declarer plays both his and the dummy hand.  Sometimes the term is used as an impolite reference to another bridge player.

Duplicate: General term for the method of bridge play used in tournaments. The same cards are bid and played several times by different groups of people. Your score is computed by comparing your result to the results obtained by other players who held your cards.

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