- 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
Examples from the Web for aces
Jones, it should be said, is also aces as the unfulfilled housewife (a role she plays very convincingly on Mad Men).Ethan Hawke's 'Good Kill': A Searing Indictment of America's Drone Warfare Obsession
September 6, 2014
There are no winning hands, just a grim deck full of aces of spades.War Is the New Peace: American Vets Reflect on Syria
John Kael Weston
September 10, 2013
He aces it, of course, and the commentator asks, “Was that a secret message?”Fainting, Confusion, Screams: The 9 Best Spelling Bee Stumpers (VIDEO)
May 31, 2012
It might not be museum-quality, but as populist art, this show is aces.Bravo’s Addictive ‘Work of Art’
November 30, 2011
There are good shots, bad shots, aces, volleys, and certain times when one side seems to have taken the lead.Inside the Trial of Dr. Conrad Murray
October 9, 2011
"Aces and sevens, gamblers," I grinned, reaching for the pot.Card Trick
Walter Bupp AKA Randall Garrett
A man with a pair of kings compelling three aces to see before the draw!The House of Pride
"I suppose you gave him the three aces," said Dr. Duchesne gloomily.Trent's Trust and Other Stories
Until two aces follow each other, with no other card between, there is no decision.The Quadroon
Three aces are highest, then three kings, three queens, etc.Round Games with Cards
W. H. Peel
- 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 aces
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 aces
In addition to the idioms beginning with ace
- ace in the hole
- ace it
- ace out
- hold all the aces
- within an ace of