lay/put (all/all of) one's cards on the table

idiom

Definition of lay/put (all/all of) one's cards on the table

: to be honest with other people and to tell them one's thoughts, plans, etc., in a very open way
  • Before we can talk further, you need to put all your cards on the table.

Word by Word Definitions

put play
  1. : to place in a specified position or relationship : lay

  2. : to move in a specified direction

  3. : to send (something, such as a weapon or missile) into or through something : thrust

  1. : a throw made with an overhand pushing motion

  2. : an option to sell a specified amount of a security (such as a stock) or commodity (such as wheat) at a fixed price at or within a specified time — compare call 3d

  1. : being in place : fixed, set

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

table play
  1. : a piece of furniture consisting of a smooth flat slab fixed on legs

  2. : a group of people assembled at or as if at a table

  3. : a legislative or negotiating session

  1. : to remove (something, such as a parliamentary motion) from consideration indefinitely

  2. : to place on the agenda

  3. : to put on a table

  1. : suitable for a table or for use at a table

  2. : suitable for serving at a table

  3. : proper for conduct at a table


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up lay/put (all/all of) one's cards on the table? 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!