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Rummy Glossary

Rummy RoyalWhether you're new to the game of Rummy or a long-time fan, you've no doubt come across a term or two during a game that you may not have been familiar with. By reading through the list below, you will get to know all the most important terms used in Rummy and should you venture into the world of online Rummy, you will soon be chatting like a pro.


Advertising - Discarding a card in the hopes of encouraging an opponent to do the same with a card of the same rank or suit.

Base - Four natural cards of the same rank.

Blind Discard When a card is discarded without knowing if it could be of use to an opponent.

Block - Withholding a card that would extend an opponent's meld.

Book - A meld made up of three or more cards of the same rank.

Borrowing - Taking cards from a previous meld to form a new set.

Box - (In Gin Rummy) - An entry on the score sheet.

Canasta - A meld consisting of seven cards of the same rank.

Combination - Two cards that could become a matched set if a particular third card is drawn.

Contract - The pre-determined number and type of sets or runs a player must meld on the first occasion in a certain deal.

Count - A hand's total point value after deducting the value of melded cards.

Dead Cards - Cards that can no longer be used by a player because they have already been buried in pile of discarded cards or melded into a hand.

Deadwood - Unmatched cards at the end of a hand.

Discard - Placing a card from a player's hand into the discard pile, ending his or her turn.

Discard Pile - A pile of cards that have been discarded by players and not picked up.

Draw - Taking a card from either the stock or discard pile.

Fill - A card that turns a combination into a matched set.

Forcing - Discarding a card which the next player is forced to take, dependant upon the rules of the particular game.

Gin Hand - In Gin Rummy, a hand with no unmatched cards.

Go Down - When a player ends the current game by placing his or her cards on the table, face up.

Go Out - To discard or get rid of the last card in a player's hand.

Go Rummy - Laying down a hand with no unmatched cards (no deadwood).

Group - A matched set made up of three or more cards of the same rank.

Knava - Another term to refer to any Jack.

Knock - When a player taps the table with their hand, signalling the end of a round and placing their remaining cards on the table. Most common in Gin Rummy.

Lay Down - Another term for when a player ends the game by placing their cards on the table.

Matched Card - A card that is part of a matched set.

Matched Set - Three or more cards that can be melded together, which is determined by the rules of the particular Rummy variation being played.

Meld - Three or more matching cards of the same rank or suit in a sequence.

Natural Card - Any card not designated as a wild card.

Run - A set of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit.

Safe Discard - A card which has been previously discarded by an opponent, meaning it is unlikely to be picked up.

Set - Three or more cards of the same rank.

Shutout - When a game is won in which one player did not score any points.

Stock - The remaining cards after hands have been dealt.

Stop Card - In Canasta, a black three or any wild card, which prohibits the following player from drawing a card from the discard pile.

Unloading - Discarding high cards with the goal of reducing a possible or expected loss if another player wins.

Unmatched Cards - Cards in a hand not included in matched sets.

Wild Card - Cards that may be played as if they were the suit and rank of any other card chosen by the player in possession of it.


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