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To do exceptionally well in something, especially an exam or other high-pressure situation. I feel like I aced that interview, so I'm pretty sure the job is mine. I managed to ace that test without even studying for it.
To achieve total success at something, or to complete something to the best of one's ability. I'm not worried, I always ace it at job interviews. I'm sure he'll ace it at the match tomorrow morning.
ace up (one's) sleeve
A secret advantage. My stamina is the ace up my sleeve for this race—the other runners don't stand a chance! The defense attorney waited for just the right time to play the ace up her sleeve—a new eye-witness.
ace in the holeand someone's ace in the hole
Fig. something important held in reserve. The twenty-dollar bill I keep in my shoe is my ace in the hole.
ace in(to something)
to be lucky in getting admitted to something. I aced into the history class at the last minute.
to be fortunate or lucky. Freddy aced out at the dentist's office with only one cavity.
ace out (of something)
to get out of something through luck; to evade or avoid something narrowly. I just aced out of having to take the math test!
ace someone out
to maneuver someone out; to win out over someone. Martha aced out Rebecca to win the first place trophy.
*black as a skilletand *black as a stack of black cats; *black as a sweep; *black as coal; *black as night; *black as pitch; *black as the ace of spades
completely dark or black. (*Also: as ~.) I don't want to go down to the cellar. It's as black as a skillet down there. Her hair was black as a stack of black cats. After playing in the mud all morning, the children were as black as night. The stranger's clothes were all black as pitch.
come within an ace of something
to come very close to [doing] something. I came within an ace of leaving school. I'm glad you talked me out of it. Donna came within an ace of having an accident.
have something up one's sleeveand have an ace up one's sleeve
Fig. to have a secret or surprise plan or solution (to a problem). (Alludes to cheating at cards by having a card hidden in one's sleeve.) I've got something up my sleeve, and it should solve all your problems. I'll tell you what it is after I'm elected. The manager has an ace up her sleeve. She'll surprise us with it later.
hold all the acesand hold all the cards
to be in a favorable position; to be in a controlling position. (Alludes to having possession of all four aces or all the high cards in a card game.) How can I advance in my career when my competitor holds all the aces? If I held all the aces, I'd be able to do great things. I tried to get my points across, but Joan held all the cards and the board voted for her plan.
within an ace of (doing) somethingand within a hair('s breadth) of something
very close to doing something. I came within an ace of getting into an accident. We were within an ace of beating the all-time record. We were within a hair's breadth of beating the all-time record.
an ace in the hole(American)
an advantage that you have that other people do not know about The local team has an ace in the hole with their new player.
come within an ace of something/doing something
to almost achieve something Linford Christie came within an ace of the world indoor record for the 100m last night.
have an ace up your sleeve
to have an advantage that other people do not know about The new game show has an ace up its sleeve. It will allow viewers to play from home and win prizes.
play your ace
to do the thing that you know will bring you success The prosecutor played her ace, the results of the DNA tests on samples taken from the victim's clothing.
have/hold all the aces
to be in a strong position when you are competing with someone else, because you have all the advantages In the battle between road builders and environmentalists, the road builders seem to hold all the aces.
have something up your sleeve
to have a secret idea or plan If this trip doesn't work out I've still got a few ideas up my sleeve.
ace in the hole
A hidden advantage or resource kept in reserve until needed, as in The prosecutor had an ace in the hole: an eyewitness. The term comes from stud poker, where each player is dealt one card face down-the so-called hole card-and the rest face up. Should the hole card be an ace, the player has a hidden advantage. Hole here simply means "a hiding place." In the 19th-century American West, the expression was used to refer to a hidden weapon, such as a gun concealed in a shoulder holster. By the 1920s it had become a metaphor for any surprise advantage or leverage.
Accomplish something with success, as in I'm sure he'll ace it when he takes that bar exam. The verb ace originated in tennis with the meaning "to hit an unreturnable serve against an opponent." The idiom ace it, however, originated as student slang for getting an "A" on an exam or in a course but soon was extended to other successful accomplishments. [Slang; mid-1900s]
1. Get the better of, defeat, as in Our team is bound to ace them out, or Those calculus problems aced me out again. [Slang; mid-1900s]
2. Take advantage of or cheat someone, as in John thought they were trying to ace him out of his promised promotion. [Slang; c. 1920]
card up one's sleeve
Also, ace up one's sleeve. A hidden or secret advantage or resource, as in Before we make a decision, let's see if management has another card up its sleeve, or You can count on John to have an ace up his sleeve. The practice of storing something in one's sleeve dates from the 16th century, when clothes rarely had pockets. The current term comes from gambling, where a dishonest player might so conceal an ace or other winning card. [Mid-1800s]
hold all the aces
Also, hold all the trumps. Be in a winning position, as in We can't argue with Jeff; he holds all the aces, or If Jean refuses, he'll reveal that he holds all the trumps and force her to give in. These expressions allude to card games in which the ace or a trump card outranks all the others. Also see play one's cards right; trump card.
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.
1. mod. [of persons] best; top-rated. She is an ace reporter with the newspaper.
2. n. one dollar. It only costs an ace. Buy two.
3. tv. to pass a test easily, with an A grade. (see also ace out.) I knew I wouldn’t ace it, but I never thought I’d flunk it!
4. n. a nickname for a foolish and ineffectual person. (Sarcastic. Usually a term of address.) Hey, ace, hand me that monkey wrench—if you know what one is.
5. tv. to surpass someone or something; to beat someone or something; to ace someone out. The Japanese firm aced the Americans by getting the device onto the shelves first.
ace boom-boomand ace boon-coon
n. one’s good and loyal friend. (Black. Ace boon-coon is not as common as the first entry and is objected to because of coon.) Hey girlfriend, you are my ace boom-boom. Where is my old ace boon-coon, bro?
See ace boom-boom
ace in the hole
n. something important held in reserve. Mary’s beautiful singing voice was her ace in the hole in case everything else failed.
ace in(to something)
in. to happen onto something good; to manage to get into something. I hope I can ace into the afternoon physics class.
in. to be fortunate or lucky. I really aced out on that test in English.
ace someone out
1. mod. outmaneuvered; outscored. “You are aced, sucker!” shouted Rebecca as she passed Martha in the 100-yard sprint.
2. mod. alcohol intoxicated. How can anybody be so aced on three beers?
have an ace up one’s sleeve
tv. to have something useful in reserve; to have a special trick available. (Have got can replace have.) I still have an ace up my sleeve that you don’t know about.
hold all the aces
tv. to be in control of everything. The boss holds all the aces on this deal.
within an ace of (doing) something
mod. very close to doing something. We were within an ace of beating the all-time record.
within an ace of somethingverb
ace in the hole/up one's sleeve
A hidden advantage or resource kept in reserve until needed.
within an ace of
On the verge of; very near to: came within an ace of losing the election.