Whist is a classic English trick-taking card game which was played widely in the 18th and 19th centuries. It derives from the 16th century game of trump or ruff, via Ruff and Honours. Although the rules are extremely simple, there is enormous scope for scientific play. Originating in the early 17th century, the now obsolete adjective whist and variant spelling wist (in which the word wistful has its roots), meant quiet, silent, and/or attentive. The adverb wistly is also defined as meaning intently. In its heyday a large amount of literature about how to play whist was written. Edmond Hoyle, of 'According to Hoyle' fame, wrote an early popular and definitive textbook, A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist. It is important to note that this game, called 'French ruff' by Charles Cotton, is similar to cart. English ruff-and-honours, also described by Cotton, is similar to whist.
Contributions by Z07, Newwhist, and Dewatf.