ace up one sleeve


a playing card or die marked with or having the value indicated by a single spot: He dealt me four aces in the first hand.
a single spot or mark on a playing card or die.
Also called service ace. a placement made on a service.
any placement.
a serve that the opponent fails to touch.
the point thus scored.
a fighter pilot credited with destroying a prescribed number or more of enemy aircraft, usually five, in combat.
a very skilled person; expert; adept: an ace at tap dancing.
Slang. a one-dollar bill.
Slang. a close friend.
Also called hole in one. a shot in which the ball is driven from the tee into the hole in one stroke: He hit a 225-yard ace on the first hole.
a score of one stroke made on such a shot: to card an ace.
Slang. a barbiturate or amphetamine capsule or pill.
a very small quantity, amount, or degree; a particle: not worth an ace.
Slang. a grade of A; the highest grade or score.
verb (used with object), aced, acing.
(in tennis, badminton, handball, etc.) to win a point against (one's opponent) by an ace.
Golf. to make an ace on (a hole).
Slang. to cheat, defraud, or take advantage of (often followed by out ): to be aced out of one's inheritance; a friend who aced me out of a good job.
to receive a grade of A, as on a test or in a course (sometimes followed by out ).
to complete easily and successfully: He aced every physical fitness test they gave him.
excellent; first-rate; outstanding.
Verb phrases
ace it, Slang. to accomplish something with complete success: a champion who could ace it every time.
ace up one's sleeve, an important, effective, or decisive argument, resource, or advantage kept in reserve until needed.
be aces with, Slang. to be highly regarded by: The boss says you're aces with him.
easy aces, Auction Bridge. aces equally divided between opponents.
within an ace of, within a narrow margin of; close to: He came within an ace of winning.

1250–1300; 1915 for def 4; Middle English as, aas < Old French as < Latin: a unit; cf. as2; sense 4 after French as in World War I; sense 5 < 4 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
ace (eɪs)
1.  any die, domino, or any of four playing cards with one spot
2.  a single spot or pip on a playing card, die, etc
3.  tennis a winning serve that the opponent fails to reach
4.  chiefly (US) golf a hole in one
5.  a fighter pilot accredited with destroying several enemy aircraft
6.  informal an expert or highly skilled person: an ace at driving
7.  an ace up one's sleeve, an ace in the hole a hidden and powerful advantage
8.  hold all the aces to have all the advantages or power
9.  play one's ace to use one's best weapon or resource
10.  within an ace of almost to the point of: he came within an ace of winning
11.  informal superb; excellent
12.  tennis to serve an ace against
13.  chiefly (US) golf to play (a hole) in one stroke
14.  (US), (Canadian) to perform extremely well or score very highly in (an examination, etc)
[C13: via Old French from Latin as a unit, perhaps from a Greek variant of heis one]

ACE (eɪs)
n acronym for
1.  (in Britain) Advisory Centre for Education; a private organization offering advice on schools to parents
2.  Allied Command Europe
3.  See ACE inhibitor angiotensin-converting enzyme

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. as "one at dice," from L. as (gen. assis) "a unit," from the name of a small Roman coin, perhaps originally Etruscan and related to Gk. eis "one." It meant the side of the die with only one mark before it meant the playing card. Since this was the lowest roll at dice, ace was used
metaphorically in M.E. for "bad luck;" but as the ace is often the highest playing card, the extended senses based on "excellence, good quality" arose 18c. as card-playing became popular. Meaning "outstanding pilot" dates from 1917 (technically, in WWI aviators' jargon, one who has brought down 10 enemy planes, though originally in ref. to 5 shot down), from Fr. l'ace (1915), which, according to Bruce Robertson (ed.) "Air Aces of the 1914-1918 War" was used in prewar Fr. sporting publications for "top of the deck" boxers, cyclists, etc. Sports meaning of "point scored" (1819) led to that of "unreturnable serve" (1889). The verb meaning "to score" (in sports) is first attested 1923, and led to the extended student slang sense of "get high marks" (1959). Ace in the hole "concealed advantage" is attested from 1915.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
  1. access control entry

  2. American Council on Education

  3. angiotensin-converting enzyme

  4. Army Corps of Engineering

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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