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any card game that can be played by one person. Solitaire is the American name; in England it is known as patience. There are probably more kinds of solitaire than all other card games together. The aim in most is to segregate the four suits, each in sequence, against the luck of the shuffle. The game is usually played with one or two decks. Cards are laid out on the table in an arrangement called the tableau. All the cards of a certain rank form the foundations on which the suits are built. Play proceeds either until the game is won (called "making" or "breaking" the game) or until further play is impossible. Although the names of games vary greatly, the most popular solitaires include Klondike (probably the best known), Canfield (named for Richard A. CanfieldCanfield, Richard Albert,
1855–1914, American gambler, b. New Bedford, Mass. A well-known gambling operator in Providence, R.I., Canfield went in the 1880s to New York, where his gambling establishment became famous. It was closed in 1904 largely through the efforts of W.
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), accordion, spider, golf, and clock. In double solitaire, for two persons, each plays his own game of either Klondike or Canfield, but each can build on his opponent's (as well as his own) aces. The object is to play the greater number of cards to the center.


See A. H. Morehead and G. Mott-Smith, Complete Book of Solitaire and Patience Games (1949, repr. 1973); G. F. Hervey, Card Games for One (1965); D. Berveiler, Strategic Solitaire (1987).

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1. a game played by one person, esp one involving moving and taking pegs in a pegboard or marbles on an indented circular board with the object of being left with only one
2. the US name for patience (the card game)
3. any of several extinct birds of the genus Pezophaps, related to the dodo
4. any of several dull grey North American songbirds of the genus Myadestes: subfamily Turdinae (thrushes)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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