Nearby words

  1. accustomed,
  2. accustomed to,
  3. accutane,
  4. accutron,
  5. acda,
  6. ace bandage,
  7. ace in the hole,
  8. ace inhibitor,
  9. ace it,
  10. ace out


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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for within an ace of


/ (eɪs) /



informal superb; excellent

verb (tr)

Word Origin for ace

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


/ (eɪs) /

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 within an ace of
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with within an ace of

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

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.