Glossary of solitaire terms
- 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.
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.
|Squared||This means that the cards in the pile are directly on top of one another|
|Fanned||This means that the cards in the pile are overlapping, but that part of each card can be seen. They can be fanned left, right, up, or down. Fanned down is the most common option; this means that the card on the top of the pile is closest to the player.|
|Stock||See Stock in the Glossary of card game terms. Typically squared and face-down. These can be turned over into the waste, usually one-by-one, but sometimes in groups of two or three (depending on individual game rules), whenever the player wishes.|
|Waste||Wastepile, Waste Heap, Discard||The area where the cards from the stock go when they are brought into play. The following are typically true:
|Foundation||Typically squared and face-up. Most solitaire games feature foundation piles (often referred to as foundations) built on foundation cards (usually the Ace). The aim of these games is to clear the tableaux and move all the cards to the foundation piles. Foundation piles are typically built from the foundation card by suit until the card at the other end of the sequence is reached (if the foundation card is the Ace, this is the King); however, some games have different rules. Usually only thirteen cards are allowed in each foundation. The number of foundations can usually be found by multiplying the number of suits by the number of decks involved in the game.|
|Tableau||Layout (in Card Games for One; a different use than in this article);
|Typically fanned downwards. The tableau consists of a number of tableau piles of cards. Cards can be moved from one pile or area to another, under varying rules. Some allow stacks of cards that match the building requirements to be moved, others only allow the top card to be moved, yet others allow any stack to be moved.|
|Reserve||A group or pile(s) of cards where building is usually not permitted. These cards are dealt out at the beginning, and used, commonly one card at a time, during the play.|
|Cells||Common to "FreeCell" type games, cells allow only one card to be placed in them. Any card can be put in a cell. These act as maneuvering space.|
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).
|By suit||Cards can only be placed on a card of the same suit|
|By suit sequence||By suit in sequence|
|By color||Cards can only be placed on a card of the same color (Diamonds and Hearts are considered Red, Spades and Clubs are Black)|
|By alternating colors||Cards can only be placed on a card of the opposite color|
|By any other suit||By any suit but the same||Cards cannot be placed on a card of the same suit.|
|Wrapping||Building round the corner||Building through the Ace, so that for example the sequence King, Ace, Two is allowed|
|In multiples||Cards can only be placed on the card two, three or four higher or lower: a Jack is considered as an eleven, a Queen as a twelve and a King as a thirteen. Modular arithmetic is often applied, e.g., an Ace can be placed on a Queen if building up by two is required (or in other words, wrapping is often used)|
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).
|Available cards||Those that are not "blocked" by other cards, i.e., not forbidden by the particular rules of each game, to be used.|
|Released cards||Those that, by the removal of the cards that blocked them, have now become available.|
|Suitable cards||Those whose value and suit fit them to be played or placed in the tableaux.|
|Base card||The first card which must go on a pile; typically this refers to aces on foundation piles|
|Topmost card||The card in a pile which doesn't have any cards on top of it; this is true even if the cards are fanned down|
|Redeal||When the Stock pile is empty, to take the Waste, turn it over, and place it in the Stock|
|Marriage||The placing a card of the same suit on the next one above or below it in value. Any number may be placed on each other in this way.|
|Lane||Space||An empty space in the tableau, which has been formed by the removal of an entire row of cards.|
- a special move that may be illegal to the rules of the game otherwise.
- 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.
- 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 than the definition of play in the Glossary of card game terms.