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Avoid these words. Seriously.


[eys] /eɪs/
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.
  1. Also called service ace. a placement made on a service.
  2. any placement.
  3. a serve that the opponent fails to touch.
  4. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  1. to receive a grade of A, as on a test or in a course (sometimes followed by out).
  2. 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.
Origin of ace
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. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for ace it


any die, domino, or any of four playing cards with one spot
a single spot or pip on a playing card, die, etc
(tennis) a winning serve that the opponent fails to reach
(golf, mainly US) a hole in one
a fighter pilot accredited with destroying several enemy aircraft
(informal) an expert or highly skilled person: an ace at driving
an ace up one's sleeve, an ace in the hole, a hidden and powerful advantage
hold all the aces, to have all the advantages or power
play one's ace, to use one's best weapon or resource
within an ace of, almost to the point of: he came within an ace of winning
(informal) superb; excellent
verb (transitive)
(tennis) to serve an ace against
(golf, mainly US) to play (a hole) in one stroke
(US & Canadian) to perform extremely well or score very highly in (an examination, etc)
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin as a unit, perhaps from a Greek variant of heis one


noun acronym
(in Britain) Advisory Centre for Education; a private organization offering advice on schools to parents
Allied Command Europe
angiotensin-converting enzyme See ACE inhibitor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ace it



c.1300, "one at dice," from Old French as "one at dice," from Latin as "a unit, one, a whole, unity;" also the name of a small Roman coin ("originally one pound of copper; reduced by depreciation to half an ounce" [Lewis]), perhaps originally Etruscan and related to Greek eis "one" (from PIE *sem- "one, as one"), or directly from the Greek word.

In English, it meant the side of the die with only one mark before it meant the playing card with one pip (1530s). Because this was the lowest roll at dice, ace was used metaphorically in Middle English for "bad luck" or "something of no value;" 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. Ace in the hole in the figurative sense of "concealed advantage" is attested from 1904, from crooked stud poker deals.

Meaning "outstanding pilot" dates from 1917 (technically, in World War I aviators' jargon, one who has brought down 10 enemy planes, though originally in reference to 5 shot down), from French l'ace (1915), which, according to Bruce Robertson (ed.) "Air Aces of the 1914-1918 War" was used in prewar French sporting publications for "top of the deck" boxers, cyclists, etc. Sports meaning of "point scored" (1819) led to that of "unreturnable serve" (1889).



"to score" (in sports), 1923, from ace (n.). This led in turn to the extended student slang sense of "get high marks" (1959). Related: Aced; acing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ace it

ace it

verb phrase

To score an ''A'' on an exam



: He did it ace every time


: an ace mechanic/ the ace professor


  1. A person of extraordinary skill, usually in a specified activity: poker ace/ the ace of headwaiters
  2. A combat pilot who has shot down five or more enemy aircraft (WWI)
  3. An unusually pleasant, generous, and decent person, esp a male; prince
  4. A very close friend; buddy, pal (Black & street gang)
  5. A man who favors flamboyant, up-tothe-minute dress; dude (Black)
  6. A marijuana cigarette; joint
  7. A dollar bill
  8. A hole scored in one stroke (Golf)
  9. An unreturnable serve that scores a quick point (Racquet games)
  10. A table for one; also, a single customer (Restaurant)
  11. A grilled cheese sandwich (Lunch counter);


  1. To score by an ace: He aced the fifth hole/ She aced him six times in one set (Sports)
  2. (also ace out) To make a perfect or nearly perfect score: My sister aced the chemistry exam/ Ace the test and you go on to the next subject (College students)

Related Terms

come within an ace, cool as a christian with aces wired

[fr the name of the playing card]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with ace it

ace it

Accomplish something with success, as in I'm sure he'll ace it when he takes that bar exam. The verb ace originated in tennis with the meaning “to hit an unreturnable serve against an opponent.” The idiomace it, however, originated as student slang for getting an “A” on an exam or in a course but soon was extended to other successful accomplishments. [ ; mid-1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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