Definitions

face-card

Face card

Face Cards
(in decreasing order per suit)
hearts spades clubs diamonds
K | Q | J ♠K | ♠Q | ♠J ♣K | ♣Q | ♣J K | Q | J

In a deck of playing cards, the term face card is generally used to describe a card that depicts a person. Cards depicting persons were developed in Europe, possibly in the late 1300s; it is believed that earlier sets of cards included "court cards" that showed abstract designs, and not persons.

Europeans changed the court cards to represent European royalty and attendants, thereby forming the original face cards: king, chevalier, and knave (or servant).

A deck of modern (Anglo-American) playing cards has the following face cards:

A deck of Italian playing cards has the following face cards (which are worth 10, 9 and 8 respectively, as there are only 10 cards per suit):

  • King/Re - a man standing, wearing a crown
  • Knight/Horseman/Cavaliere - a man sitting on a horse
  • Jack/Fante - a younger man standing, without a crown

or (depending on the regional variant):

  • King/Re - a man standing, wearing a crown
  • Dame/Donna - a younger woman standing, without a crown
  • Knight/Horseman/Cavaliere - a man sitting on a horse

Significance of cards being face cards (versus a "regular", "rank" or "numbered" card) varies depending on the particular game being played. Typically they are considered as part of a sequence to be higher than the 10, but often lower than the ace. Many games that ascribe value, or 'points' to a face card would make all face cards equal to the 10.

While modern decks of playing cards may contain a Joker (or two) depicting a person (such as a jester or clown), jokers are not normally considered as face cards, although some specific card games may treat them as such.

Search another word or see face-cardon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature