- Also called service ace.a placement made on a service.
- any placement.
- a serve that the opponent fails to touch.
- the point thus scored.
- 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.
verb (used with object), aced, ac·ing.
- 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.
Origin of ace
Word Origin for ace
n acronym for
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.
within an ace of
Also, within an inch of. Very close to, within a narrow margin of, as in We were within an ace of calling you, but we'd lost your phone number, or We were within an inch of buying tickets for that concert. The first term refers to the ace of dice, that is, the one pip on a die. The lowest number one can throw with a pair of dice is two (two aces), a throw that is within an ace of one. The term began to be used for other kinds of near miss by about 1700.
In addition to the idioms beginning with ace
- ace in the hole
- ace it
- ace out
- hold all the aces
- within an ace of