As a heretofore regular word in the English language, ‘trump’ has some familiar, longstanding applications. While it can be both a verb and a noun, recent connotations seem to be putting it more frequently into the pro-active role as a verb.
Given the electoral earthquake in the U.S., it’s interesting to note how many of these meanings are open to being flavoured, or perhaps coloured, in the reflection of the (capitalized) eponymous President elect.
In card games, ‘trump’ suits take precedence over other suits. Sometimes hands are played with ‘no trump’, and the playing field thus is more level.
On a more physical side, ‘trumping’ someone else’s move clearly implies being in a superior position.
On a more negative, legal side, dealing with ‘trumped up’ charges can cause serious difficulties if one is the accused. A substantial part of the challenge in establishing a valid defense may be in finding clarity or coherence in the source(s) of the charges; no ‘trumped up’ excuses.
At a more prosaic, retail level, ‘trumped up’ charges could represent expenses to customers that are of highly questionable validity. Not that this would ever really happen…
The context of potentially false accusation is probably the most familiar use of saying ‘trumped up’. There are less common, not necessarily pejorative, associations. Extemporaneous responses may invite a temptation to trump them up. At times, hopes might be deemed trumped up; it might become necessary to trump up support.
Then, there’s the matter of variations of simply being trumped.
There are a few outs: being outdone, outsmarted, or outmanoeuvered.
There are a couple of ex’s: being excelled or exceeded.
The suave among us will recognize that some defeats should be finessed.
Interestingly, ‘trump’ used as a noun seems to imply a positive air about it. Generally, being synonymous with an advantage would appear to be a good move.