hold (all/all of) the cards

idiom

Definition of hold (all/all of) the cards

: to be in control of a situation and have the power to make decisions
  • It's your decision. You're holding all the cards.

Word by Word Definitions

hold play
  1. : to have possession or ownership of or have at one's disposal

  2. : to have as a privilege or position of responsibility

  3. : to have as a mark of distinction

  1. : stronghold

  2. : confinement, custody

  3. : prison

  1. : the interior of a ship below decks

  2. : the cargo compartment of a plane

all play
  1. : the whole amount, quantity, or extent of

  2. : as much as possible

  3. : every member or individual component of

  1. : wholly, quite

  2. : selected as the best (as at a sport) within an area or organization

  3. : only, exclusively

  1. : the whole number, quantity, or amount : totality

  2. used in such phrases as for all I know, for all I care, and for all the good it does to indicate a lack of knowledge, interest, or effectiveness

  3. : everybody, everything

  1. : the whole of one's possessions, resources, or energy

  1. : other : different : atypical

  2. : isomeric form or variety of (a specified chemical compound)

  3. : being one of a group whose members together constitute a structural unit especially of a language

card play cards
  1. : to cleanse, disentangle, and collect together (fibers) by the use of cards preparatory to spinning

  1. : an instrument or machine for carding fibers that consists usually of bent wire teeth set closely in rows in a thick piece of leather fastened to a back

  2. : an implement for raising a nap on cloth

  1. : playing card

  2. : a game played with cards

  3. : card playing

  1. : to place or fasten on or by means of a card

  2. : to provide with a card

  3. : to list or record on a card


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hold (all/all of) the cards? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!