Neha Patil (Editor)

Glossary of patience terms

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There are a number of common features in many Patience games or solitaire games as they are called in the US, such as "building down" and the "foundations" and "tableau", used to simplify the description of new games.


Deal terms

  • Cascade
  • Cards are built on one another, starting from the bottom up. Each card's value and suit is face up, and should be able to be viewed by the player. However, only the top card is available for play. It is most commonly found in addition games.

    Layout terms

    The layout describes the piles of cards in use during the game, and the restrictions on these piles. There are a number of different kinds of piles which have become standard across a number of games.

    Building terms

    Building (or Packing) involves cards being placed in stacks or cascades according to various rules. The "Building" terms are usually combined in game explanations. For instance, a game may describe "building up in sequence by suit". The terms in this table are generally preceded by the word "building" (as in the previous sentence).

    Play terms

    The terms above are useful for describing the rules of the game. The terms in this section tend to be more useful for describing things happening during the state of play. Most are derived from Lady Cadogan (see below).

    British terms

    Here are a few additional terms used by Peter Arnold in his book Card Games for One (ISBN 0-600-60727-5) and may be terms exclusively used in British English in explaining solitaire games.

  • Grace
  • a special move that may be illegal to the rules of the game otherwise.
  • Heel
  • cards set aside for later in the game.
  • Worrying Back
  • putting a card already built on a foundation back into the tableau.

    Lady Cadogan's terms

    Terms from the book Lady Cadogan's Illustrated Games of Patience. This defines the forgotten term Talon (alias Stock), which is still in use in Germany. Also note the term Marriage of cards.

  • Talon
  • Cards which, being unsuitable at the moment, are laid aside in one or more packets till they can come into use. Note: In German books Talon refers to the stock-pile not the waste-pile as this might suggest here.
  • To play cards
  • The placing them on the foundations in contradistinction to placing them elsewhere. Note that this is different from the definition of play in the Glossary of card game terms.


    Glossary of patience terms Wikipedia

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