- 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.
- (in tennis, badminton, handball, etc.)
- 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.
- (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.
- 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
- American Council on Education.
- Army Corps of Engineers.
Examples from the Web for ace
An ace comedic turn that, in lesser hands, would come off as one-note.Oscars 2015: The Daily Beast’s Picks, From Scarlett Johansson to ‘Boyhood’
January 6, 2015
My grandfather lived fast and large—he liked his liquor and his tobacco, and he was also an ace gambler.Those Kansas City Blues: A Family History
October 24, 2014
Time and time again, we see women being asked to ace some arbitrary test in order to be deemed model victims.Why We're So Hard on Janay Rice and Celebrity Survivors of Abuse
September 15, 2014
He is getting ready to watch Jack Morris, the Tigers ace, go for win number nineteen against the Toronto Blue Jays.Elmore Leonard’s Rocky Road to Fame and Fortune
September 13, 2014
She had been seeking not only access to the presentation materials, but also a list of ACE members who attended the webinar.Colleges Lawyer Up Before Claire McCaskill Rape Inquiry
June 6, 2014
And I was within an ace of becoming an ornament of the British peerage.The Bacillus of Beauty
If she had the ace of trumps in her hand at whist, she wouldn't say anything, child.Little Dorrit
Colonel Chinn, you have overlooked that small wager on the ace.Southern Lights and Shadows
I took, as I remember now, an ace of hearts off the table and threw it into the air.A Hero of Our Time
M. Y. Lermontov
And, besides, I might very well have won, for I still had an ace left.'Abbe Mouret's Transgression
- 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 personan ace at driving
- an ace up one's sleeve or 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 ofhe came within an ace of winning
- informal superb; excellent
- tennis to serve an ace against
- golf, mainly US to play (a hole) in one stroke
- US and Canadian to perform extremely well or score very highly in (an examination, etc)
- (in Britain) Advisory Centre for Education; a private organization offering advice on schools to parents
- Allied Command Europe
- angiotensin-converting enzymeSee ACE inhibitor
Word Origin and History for ace
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.
Idioms and Phrases with ace
In addition to the idioms beginning with ace
- ace in the hole
- ace it
- ace out
- hold all the aces
- within an ace of