Idioms

    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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for aces

excellent, fabulous, peachy, wonderful

Examples from the Web for aces

Contemporary Examples of aces

Historical Examples of aces

  • "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!

  • "I suppose you gave him the three aces," said Dr. Duchesne gloomily.

  • Until two aces follow each other, with no other card between, there is no decision.

    The Quadroon

    Mayne Reid

  • Three aces are highest, then three kings, three queens, etc.


British Dictionary definitions for aces

ace

noun

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

adjective

informal superb; excellent

verb (tr)

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)

Word Origin for ace

C13: via Old French from Latin as a unit, perhaps from a Greek variant of heis one

ACE

n acronym for

(in Britain) Advisory Centre for Education; a private organization offering advice on schools to parents
Allied Command Europe
angiotensin-converting enzymeSee 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

Word Origin and History for aces

ace

n.

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).

ace

v.

"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

Idioms and Phrases with aces

ace

In addition to the idioms beginning with ace

  • ace in the hole
  • ace it
  • ace out

also see:

  • hold all the aces
  • within an ace of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.