hearts, card game played by three to six players with an ordinary deck. All the cards are dealt to the players. After a card is led, each hand must follow suit if possible. The object is to avoid accumulating points by taking tricks that contain cards of the heart suit. In black lady, a popular variation of hearts, the queen of spades is to be equally avoided. Although its origins are unknown, it first gained popularity in England in the 1890s.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.