Definition of ace in English:

ace

noun

  • 1A playing card with a single spot on it, ranked as the highest card in its suit in most card games:

    ‘the ace of diamonds’
    figurative ‘life had started dealing him aces again’
    • ‘He picked up his cards, finding the ace of diamonds he tossed it on the pile.’
    • ‘Christopher set down his cards, exposing a three, five, and ten of spades and the ace of diamonds.’
    • ‘When the deck is unusually rich in face cards and aces, they bet more, and when the deck is relatively poor in these cards, they bet less.’
    • ‘When played as the High Card, jokers rank as aces.’
    • ‘Lynn's cards are strong - she has the ace of diamonds, the ace and queen of clubs, the ace and king of hearts.’
    • ‘Your opponent has only one card left and you know it is the ace of trumps.’
    • ‘He flicked his wrist and an ace of spades appeared.’
    • ‘At the end of the following hand it is noted who held the ace of hearts at the end of the auction.’
    • ‘The cards keep their usual ranks except for the ace which can be either the highest or lowest ranked card in a suit at the whim of the person playing it.’
    • ‘I started with the queen of diamonds and spades, an ace of clubs, five of hearts and three of diamonds.’
    • ‘The black aces are permanent trumps, independent of which suit otherwise is trumps.’
    • ‘The ace of spades is the most powerful card, irrespective of what suit is trumps.’
    • ‘A normal 52-card deck with the aces removed.’
    • ‘If an ace of spades is turned up, the next player must turn up 4 more cards.’
    • ‘Trump cards beat all other cards and aces are low.’
    • ‘The guy shows his cards and he had the ace of hearts, but like I said, my hand was unbeatable at that point.’
    • ‘One recent day, search crews found an ace of diamonds playing card, a doorknob, a pair of security guard pants, a woman's black wig and a pink toothbrush.’
    • ‘During the Vietnam War, the ace of spades was considered the card of death by the Viet Cong.’
    • ‘If you set down a face card, an ace, or a joker, then next person has a certain number of chances to set down one of those cards.’
    • ‘You look at the cards one at a time, and pile them face up on the ace of the same suit.’
  • 2informal A person who excels at a particular sport or other activity:

    ‘a motorcycle ace’
    • ‘The Pontefract-based ace will captain a four-man team.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, next up for the talented tennis ace is a trip to Florida where he has been invited to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.’
    • ‘The motorcycle ace won a world title on the all-powerful Honda last year and then celebrated victory by signing for the all-powerless Yamaha.’
    • ‘Lane however had their own batting aces and the Park bowlers struggled as S Hargreaves made 69 and Oliver Halliday 53.’
    • ‘His elder sister, a computer ace, spent second grade doing research on the Internet, delving into Greek myths and studying artists.’
    • ‘The Sheffield-born ace will become the Blues' boss eighth signing since he took over from Joe Royle and takes his spending to around £4m.’
    • ‘Goal ace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer kept Manchester United in the Premiership title race with a typical smash-and-grab at Filbert Street.’
    • ‘The Chorley ace starred alongside Olympic record holder Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean as the British team left Poland trailing by more than a second in the sprint final.’
    • ‘The Canadian ace took charge of the ball before converting his fourth goal in five games.’
    • ‘The Leeds-based tennis ace, who reached the third round of the junior version of Wimbledon last year, faces a punishing daily regime.’
    • ‘But the government body funding the project, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, hopes it might be the making of a new generation of homegrown tennis aces.’
    • ‘She appeared alongside young aces in fields including sports and music and pop singing.’
    • ‘The former Olympic ace, who quit competitive swimming earlier this month, is determined to win a behind-the-scenes role in the sport.’
    • ‘The in-form Canadian ace has made only one start this season, but he is top scorer with three goals - two of them coming in the last three games.’
    • ‘The first ace is the maverick genius of young James McFadden, now of Everton.’
    • ‘Four tennis aces from Lancaster Royal Grammar School have been competing in the National Schools Tennis Championship finals in Hertfordshire.’
    • ‘Sunny and sweet, this film is what's to be expected - a big studio romantic comedy about two tennis aces who fall in love at Wimbledon.’
    • ‘Olympic champion Maurice Greene's status as the world's No 1 sprinter looks shakier than ever and a host of other top name American stars have struggled as Britain's track aces, led by Campbell, bloom.’
    • ‘A football signed by Brazilian ace and World Cup winner Rivaldo is set to be auctioned off to raise funds for the York City Supporters' Trust.’
    • ‘The Kiwi ace piled up 24 points with a try and 10 goals before being given a rest after an hour when it was 60-6.’
    expert, master, genius, virtuoso, maestro, professional, adept, past master, doyen, champion, star, winner
    wunderkind
    demon, pro, wizard, hotshot, whizz, wiz, ninja
    dab hand
    maven, crackerjack
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A pilot who has shot down many enemy aircraft:
      ‘a Battle of Britain ace’
      • ‘Bomber pilots that went on to become fighter aces during World War Two are fairly rare.’
      • ‘Even though the P - 40 was not a topline fighter, many pilots in the Pacific became aces.’
      • ‘He had already shot down five planes to become an ace and was doing a good job running the squadron.’
      • ‘This aspect of being an ace haunted him increasingly as his number of kills rose.’
      • ‘Fogleman went on to credit the air supremacy of the F - 86 as a leading factor in the high number of Air Force aces from that war.’
      • ‘Typical of the series, this entry provides four pages of summary information on Luftwaffe aces and their battles with Allied pilots.’
      • ‘Fleeting allusions to female fighter aces or the exploits of a night-bomber regiment known as the ‘Night Witches’ occasionally crop up.’
      • ‘Added to this, Mint wanted to bring together Corsair pilots, aces, crewmen, and factory workers for a celebration of one of the world's most famous combat aircraft.’
      • ‘The 22-year-old pilot who had never flown a plane before his 18th birthday was about to begin his meteoric rise to the top of the Luftwaffe's list of living aces.’
      • ‘Walsh was undoubtedly a hero but his experiences were also typical of many other USMC and Navy Corsair pilots - aces or not.’
      • ‘The Tomahawk was also enjoying success in aerial combat and several British and Commonwealth pilots became aces while flying the aircraft.’
      • ‘The Imperial War Museum yesterday said it would continue to invite German war veterans to its shows, despite criticism over the appearance of one of the Luftwaffe's greatest aces.’
      • ‘He traces the technological development of the fighter and its employment in combat, relying heavily on a chronological presentation of vignettes about famous aces and their machines.’
      • ‘Stationed for a tour in West Germany, he became friends with many Luftwaffe aces.’
      • ‘In all, sergeant pilots shot down almost 250 enemy aircraft, and 17 became fighter aces.’
      • ‘Nine of the squadron pilots became aces, and five were awarded the RAF Distinguished Flying Cross.’
      • ‘Despite his appearance, he was a formidable pilot who became an ace and earned the DFC.’
      • ‘Also, while researching the particular aircraft, Craig discovered an astounding fact - the plane had actually been flown by one of Germany's leading aces.’
      • ‘He became an ace 10 days before his 21st birthday, during the invasion of Sicily.’
      • ‘I had prepared for combat and was ready to become a fighter ace in Europe or the Pacific.’
  • 3(in tennis and similar games) a service that an opponent is unable to return and thus wins a point:

    ‘Nadal banged down eight aces in the set’
    • ‘‘The good thing was that I was serving very well,’ said Aisam, after delivering a dozen aces in the final.’
    • ‘She hit a second-serve ace to save the first and a backhand winner to salvage the second.’
    • ‘With the verbal equivalent of one of those ferocious aces he whacks past opponents, Andy Roddick has summed up life in just 18 words.’
    • ‘He fought off six break points and ended the game with two aces.’
    • ‘He finished with 18 aces and 41 service winners, and won despite breaking serve just twice.’
    • ‘The Chinese served better than they had in previous matches against the Americans, with five aces, and they set up their offense better, with 61 kills.’
    • ‘He broke his opponent's opening service game easily, and then held serve with three aces to win seven out of eight of the first points played.’
    • ‘But he managed only one service winner and no aces in the final tiebreaker.’
    • ‘It was down to a tie-breaker game of 11 aces which saw the Cavan pair run up an early lead of 6-2 and seemed to be heading for the win.’
    • ‘His serve improved as he fired down five aces in his first two service games.’
    • ‘Their response to the whisper of defeat was the second-serve ace, the cross-court winner - the diamond hardness of their minds.’
    • ‘However, striking for 13 service aces certainly helped out, he said.’
    • ‘His final three aces came in his last service game.’
    • ‘The final game saw Carlow run into an early lead of eight aces, and were looking good.’
    • ‘He finished three of his first four service games with an ace.’
    • ‘She got the match off to a lightning start, opening with a love service game including two aces.’
    • ‘I then win a duel at the net before I take the game with an ace.’
    • ‘A forehand crosscourt, backhand down the line, a couple of aces.’
    • ‘The hardest server in the world, he compiled 13 aces in today's game but was broken once in each set, including at love to fall behind 5-4 in the second.’
    • ‘She closed out with consecutive aces and a service winner.’
    1. 3.1Golf informal A hole in one:
      ‘his hole in one at the 15th was Senior's second ace as a professional’
      • ‘He opened the defense of his title with 14 aces in the first 16 holes.’
      • ‘But his next goal is to become the oldest person ever to record an ace.’
      • ‘The funny thing is, because I'd played that hole so many times when I could see, I have this clear vision of all three of my aces.’
      • ‘Mike used a pitching wedge to hit a low, piercing drive into the 17th green for the ace.’
      • ‘It was the second ace for the 24-handicap player.’
      • ‘He recorded an ace on the par three 14th hole.’
      • ‘He dropped in a 104-yard sand-wedge shot on the fourth hole for his second ace in less than an hour.’
      • ‘Using her trusty seven wood, the ace came at the 143-yard eighth hole.’
      • ‘Today, his ace remains the longest in Golf Digest's record book.’
      • ‘He provided the highlight on Saturday with an ace at the par three 2nd hole, his second ace in five weeks!’
      • ‘Prior to that, I was an active high school golfer, and I was about a 10-handicapper when I made my first ace at age 15.’
      • ‘Her first hole-in-one gave the couple an ace on all four of the course's par 3s.’
      • ‘Kevin scored the ace on the 16th hole, which also secured him the prize of nearest the pin.’
      • ‘The hole-in-one at No.9 was the first career ace for each.’
      • ‘It was his second ace following one at Fulford's fifth hole.’
      • ‘A beautifully played nine-iron pitched once and then rolled gracefully into the ninth hole for an ace that shot the Irishman to the top of the leaderboard.’
      • ‘A search in the bushes failed as the ball had dropped in the hole for an ace.’
      • ‘Imagine his glum answer when asked if he'd ever made an ace: ‘Yeah, but nobody was there to see it.’’
      • ‘It was my first ace, and I was so happy she was there to witness the shot.’
      • ‘Not to be outdone, her brother, Sean, 14, made his own ace on the same hole during tournament play later that week.’

adjective

informal
  • Very good:

    ‘an ace swimmer’
    [as exclamation] ‘Ace! You've done it!’
    • ‘If gift articles have characteristics of ace craftsmanship, they also merit to be preserved as things of beauty.’
    • ‘This man can direct ace children's fare, and do it well.’
    • ‘She brought me back lots of little ace presents from New York - including a copy of the Village Voice, whose personal ads I'll be settling down with later.’
    • ‘THE I-BAR sizzled with Salsa beats last weekend when ace Salsa dancers thrilled Bangalore's party circuit with the latest in Latino and Salsa rhythms.’
    • ‘People have these fantasies that we live in a world where mum and dad are both ace parents and have wonderful relationships with their children and with each other.’
    • ‘I just found out today that the man from Japan is coming to visit us over Christmas, this is ace news because we haven't seen him for a couple of years.’
    • ‘And, true to his name, this ace comedian has been making everyone roll up in laughter for years.’
    • ‘A peek into the world of an ace swimmer who had everything going for him until calamity came calling one day, it is the kind of brave cinema that has been making its presence felt in recent times.’
    • ‘The Forestry Commission car park on Clay Bank Top normally provides ace views of the Cleveland Plain, but there was nothing but an impenetrable gloom.’
    • ‘I spoke to a couple of ace gardeners recently in a mad bid to investigate the best native plants for my downtown rental cottage.’
    • ‘The show's got everything - ace gags, brilliant direction and those boys can ad-lib like the pros they are.’
    • ‘The ace photographer has decided to go beyond his lens-work and has started a production house.’
    • ‘He's a photographer and has worked with loads of famous people, so had lots of ace stories.’
    • ‘Poet, publisher and ace volunteer discusses her literary loves.’
    • ‘All I wanna know is why this ace MC is wasting his time with a throwaway re-hash of every track about a shorty ever written.’
    • ‘But on July 3 2002, in the midst of recording their ace second album, he finally met the people who did.’
    • ‘They were also the days when the English still made ace movies.’
    • ‘I have repotted the coriander seedlings, which are still winning the prize for most vigorous specimens, and which have ace roots.’
    • ‘This route is punctuated by farms with ace brick barns; we passed more, some roofless, some heading that way, and joined the River Seven to take its low floodbank.’
    • ‘Popov's career was given the nudge it needed when, at the age of 17, he met ace coach Touretsky in St Petersbourg.’
    excellent, very good, first-rate, first-class, marvellous, wonderful, magnificent, outstanding, superlative, formidable, virtuoso, masterly, expert, champion, fine, consummate, skilful, adept
    great, terrific, tremendous, superb, smashing, fantastic, stellar, sensational, fabulous, fab, crack, hotshot, a1, mean, demon, awesome, magic, wicked, tip-top, top-notch
    brilliant, brill
    badass
    shit-hot
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • 1(in tennis and similar games) serve an ace against (an opponent):

    ‘he can ace opponents with serves of no more than 62 mph’
    • ‘The balance and agility you gain will have you leaping above your opponents at beach-volleyball matches, acing your game on the tennis court and more.’
    • ‘He got the message, gave Gracie and me a salute, and ran back to his game, serving the ball and acing it.’
    • ‘That then turned the ball over to Riley, and she quickly aced out the second game of the match, to even the match at one game apiece.’
    • ‘Castle and Boris aced it all the way to the final, with Castle clinching the title while describing it as the most terrifying thing he's ever done.’
    • ‘Harsh then punched out a return and set Carraz on the match point and the Frenchman aced his way to the final.’
    • ‘Whether you're among the millions of players who have recently taken up tennis or a seasoned player, one of these new shoes might just help you ace your game.’
    • ‘Today Prakash, Vijay's 19-year-old son and Stephen, Anand's 18-year-old son are acing their way into the tennis circuit that is a lot tougher than the ones their fathers played in their days.’
    • ‘MARIA SHARAPOVA, winner of women's Wimbledon 2004 title has aced her way to the top with style.’
    • ‘Carmen aced four serves with the remaining serves so strong, that the Dublin team could only send over a weak reply which was duly punished by fabulous hitting from Eimhinn, Gabrielle and Carlow's captain, Christine Harte.’
    • ‘And strong running serves have a better chance of acing the opposition, while a standing serve has less chance of netting.’
    1. 1.1Golf Score an ace on (a hole) or with (a shot):
      ‘there was a prize for the first player to ace the hole’
      • ‘Playing at Churchill Valley Country Club in Pittsburgh, the 3-handicapper aced the 156-yard par - 3 third for the sixth hole-in-one of his career.’
      • ‘Yesterday, he aced the 142-metres 16th hole to win a special plaque.’
      • ‘He was the fourth member of his family to ace the same hole - No.9 at Squaw Creek Country Club in Vienna, Ohio.’
      • ‘She aced two par three holes during a round at the Burnham and Berrow Golf Club in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, at odds of 14 million-to-one.’
      • ‘He has aced the short third at West Bank and the par-four fifth at East London (the fifth, of course, an even rarer albatross) in orthodox fashion during a long and distinguished career on South Africa's fairways.’
      • ‘He aced the 226-yard eighth hole with a four-iron in a front nine of 29 that had him on course to break the magical 60 barrier.’
      • ‘Playing the Ironwood Course near Phoenix in June 1976, he aced the 8th hole, knocked in another at the 13 th and followed that with another ace at the next hole!’
      • ‘After he had aced the 141-yard 13 th with an 8-iron, he approached his wife's group to share the news.’
      • ‘Last Christmas Eve, father and son played Big Canyon in Newport Beach, Calif., and Tiger aced the third hole.’
      • ‘Using the same ball and the same club, he aced the 167 yard fifth hole at Slade Valley.’
      • ‘Toini Norman, 72, aced the par three 14th at Pelican Waters Golf Club on Australia s Sunshine Coast a few weeks ago.’
      • ‘The Forest of Galtres GC player notched his first hole in one when he aced the 170-yard par three 11 th hole at The Oaks using a four iron.’
      • ‘He recorded the highlight of the weekend by acing the par 3 15th hole.’
      • ‘Playing her first full round of golf, with two friends and an adult in July, Smiley, 12, aced the 110-yard 11 th hole at Lomas Santa Fe Executive Course.’
      • ‘He aces more holes than he doesn't and he relaxes.’
      • ‘Jim scored the ultimate in golf when he aced par 3-5 - 14th.’
      • ‘The South African world number two, looking to lift the Claret Jug for the second time, was three under with eight holes to play after acing the par-three eighth.’
      • ‘Allenby aced the 179-yard 11 th, helping him finish in the top 10 for the first time this year.’
      • ‘The tall Swede aced the 11 th hole at Fota during the second round but there are no prizes on offer for the players.’
      • ‘The 34-year-old former paratrooper aced the 16th hole and then birdied the last for a final round 68 and a two-stroke 14-under winning total.’
  • 2North American Achieve high marks in (a test or exam):

    ‘I aced my grammar test’
    • ‘We've all seen it: the employee who's convinced she's doing a great job and gets a mediocre performance appraisal, or the student who's sure he's aced an exam and winds up with a D.’
    • ‘I never did anything in that class but I aced the final and finished the class with a D-. Does that count?’
    • ‘You know the information inside and out, and feel ready to ace this test!’
    • ‘Sure, you know how to do things - like how to make new friends, ace an English test and get ready for soccer like a month before tryouts, just to name a few.’
    • ‘He aced the tests and was welcomed by the other officers.’
    • ‘And anyway, my top priority now is acing my exams.’
    • ‘But, she's doing good, just aced another test as usual.’
    • ‘I actually aced the tests and got great scores - which cracked me up.’
    • ‘Expecting to ace a test you didn't study for isn't optimism-it's dreaming!’
    • ‘I whizzed through my GCSEs, acing geography with the only perfect score in the country.’
    • ‘Umm, Marvin, a 700 combined score isn't really acing your SATs.’
    • ‘Why didn't I ace that test when I needed to keep my grades up if I want to get into college?’
    • ‘He resat his Leaving Certificate, aced his exams and restarted at UCD in 2002 as a medical student.’
    • ‘Any studious teen can memorize the driver's ed guidebook to ace the written exam.’
    • ‘You're more likely to ace the test if you study in spurts with occasional breaks in between.’
    • ‘It was the kind of feeling you had in school when you knew that you had aced the test.’
    • ‘Toni, you aced the business course and they told you, you have potential!’
    • ‘I know in my heart, Barbara, that I aced those exams.’
    • ‘I remember once in sixth grade, we had this big test, and she gave me a whole pep talk on how to focus and everything, and I aced the test.’
    • ‘Gripping her bag for added support, she murmured softly, ‘It depends on what you call acing a subject.’’
    1. 2.1ace someone out Outdo someone in a competitive situation:
      ‘the magazine won an award, acing out its rivals’
      • ‘Trivia buffs, fantasy leaguers and statistical fanatics will all love this book as will columnists, talk show hosts and know-it-alls looking to ace someone out of a beer or two on a proposition wager.’
      • ‘In fact, as I was anxiously thinking these thoughts, a couple aced us out of the last table in the screened-in porch.’
      • ‘She'll likely lose Best Pop Album to McCartney, while Kelly Clarkson's ‘Since U Been Gone,’ strangely snubbed from the Record of the Year race, should ace her out of the prize for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.’
      • ‘Due to new management a new reservation book was created, allowing the Lake Washington High School football team to ace us out for November.’
      • ‘If you want sellers to call you before they list with discounters, we have a brand new postcard marketing campaign that will make it much harder for discounters to ace you out of the listing.’
      • ‘Finally, I had to have a talk with him and explain that I appreciated his enthusiasm, but he needed to include me, not ace me out, or else we were going to have problems.’
      • ‘I felt cheated when the Geologists and Petroleum Engineers aced us out of the new Cecil Green building.’
      • ‘However, he's never built momentum, so my guess is that the heavier competition here will ace him out.’
      • ‘Most print dealers were so desperate that they would undercut your price by a measly hundred dollars just to ace you out of a deal.’
      • ‘How can your competitor get away with not adding that tax and ace you out of yet another job?’

Phrases

  • an ace up one's sleeve (or north americanin the hole)

    • A plan or piece of information kept secret until it becomes necessary to use it:

      ‘the prime minister has several other aces up his sleeve’
      • ‘That's why you may need an ace up your sleeve for these lavish projects: the European-style kitchen system.’
      • ‘No sane person wants to get into a ‘knife fight,’ but it's comforting to have an ace up your sleeve if trouble finds you.’
      • ‘Of course Sky have an ace up their sleeve, and that's its ownership of the programme listings associated with the various channels it carries on its satellite service.’
      • ‘The wife has an ace up her sleeve and the loyal house servant gets her revenge.’
      • ‘Not yet, I still have an ace up my sleeve and I assure you it's a killer.’
      • ‘It was the ace up his sleeve, the thing that would get him out of anything he got himself into.’
      • ‘Also tomorrow, we have another ace up our sleeve.’
      • ‘However the marketers might have an ace up their sleeve.’
      • ‘The Foreign Secretary had an ace up his sleeve as he faced the Commons' Foreign Affairs select committee.’
      • ‘He was working on something to get her out of this, perhaps even now he had an ace up his sleeve.’
      • ‘If you decide to go against the rules - and that's what they're there for - you have to have an ace up your sleeve.’
      • ‘The knight gave a slow grin that immediately told Jade that he had an ace up his sleeve.’
      • ‘This idea he'd been pushing around for some time now was very, very appealing; he'd held it in reserve, the final ace up his sleeve, just in case he might need it.’
      • ‘‘Even if I lose, which I will not,’ she said, ‘I have an ace up my sleeve.’’
      • ‘He may be the one holding the weapon, but she held the ace up her sleeve.’
      • ‘That would have been enough for most athletes, but the hungry Hungarian had another ace up her sleeve.’
      • ‘Maintaining that will be a potential ace up our sleeve.’
      • ‘There's always something there, another ace up his sleeve, because the company abounds in talent and ideas like no other.’
      • ‘And considering that this is not the kind of break that most newcomers manage to get, she does seem to have an ace up her sleeve.’
      • ‘I keep wondering what the ace up their sleeve is.’
  • hold all the aces

    • Have all the advantages:

      ‘he held all the aces: he was the Director, he could lecture on whomever he liked’
      • ‘It's there to make sure that the US is holding all the aces.’
      • ‘However Kerry held all the aces and, once the ball was transferred quickly to the forward line, they wreaked havoc with some great movement and clinical finishing.’
      • ‘While nothing can be taken for granted in a final, Kilmaine appear to hold all the aces up front and should accumulate enough scores to see them return to the senior championship next season.’
      • ‘In these boom conditions, the TV channels hold all the aces.’
      • ‘In the Superleague standings though, it is Sheffield Steelers who hold all the aces.’
      • ‘Both sides know the government holds all the aces.’
      • ‘The vast majority of clubs are now operating with smaller squads and because of that players are no longer holding all the aces.’
      • ‘The expected firm ground tomorrow may not be ideal for Caesar Beware, but he looks to hold all the aces.’
      • ‘The winners held all the aces on the night and eased into the final on the back of some heavy scoring and some razor sharp finishing which was the difference between the sides at the finish.’
      • ‘The Newmarket duo will be represented by No Excuse Needed, who holds all the aces in the £80,000 Celebration Mile.’
      • ‘In terms of physical power, skill and teamwork, they held all the aces.’
      • ‘At Oxford, he held all the aces - president of the union, editor of Isis, director of the Dramatic Society - and was widely hailed as the man most likely to succeed.’
      • ‘Individually, and collectively, they held all the aces against their Roscommon counterparts, especially in the final minutes when they displayed great confidence and composure to regain the lead.’
      • ‘Then, it was the clubs and the managers who called the shots, now the players hold all the aces.’
      • ‘The winners held all the aces in defence, mid-field and attack.’
      • ‘So why should a nation of five million be ashamed of the fact that it holds all the aces in running a country of 60 million?’
      • ‘It was the perfect start and, with Charlton's confidence in shreds after just one win in their previous eight games, Wanderers held all the aces.’
      • ‘Apart from the fact that it can be lost or even copied, if there is any kind of a problem you have no bargaining power when the hire company holds all the aces - your passport!’
      • ‘It is as if nature will continue to test mankind, seemingly holding all the aces, in spite of the great advances in science and technology.’
      • ‘The negotiators from developed countries hold all the aces here, and any final deal is likely to largely diluted in its power to bring rich nations to heel and uplift developing nations' economies.’
  • play one's ace

    • Use one's best resource:

      ‘deciding to play her ace, Emily showed the letter to Vic’
      • ‘But just when it could all fall over at the last hurdle, he plays his ace.’
      • ‘Quinlan recalls playing his ace card: ‘I told Dr Guevara, ‘Anybody whose maternal grandparents were Lynches either speaks Gaelic or English.’
      • ‘And when men have triumphed in their arguments with women, the women play their ace: they say, as Molly Bloom did, ‘Yes.’’
      • ‘When I played my ace - enlisting his family to twist his arm - he only grew more obstinate.’
      • ‘However, I just play my ace at night and she gives in.’
      • ‘With a good sense of dramatic timing, Rømer played his ace in the next paragraph, where he illustrated the effect of the proposed retardation of light.’
  • within an ace of

    • Very close to:

      ‘they came within an ace of death’
      • ‘Scottish amateur bosses and senior Sports Scotland executives came within an ace of appointing Scotland's first ever female amateur boxing supremo.’
      • ‘In 1945 France was a great power that had come within an ace of extinction.’
      • ‘The player took the prize last season when he led the club to their third Association title while this year the side came within an ace of becoming the first to claim four successive titles, only to be pipped at the post by Spring View.’
      • ‘Trapped against the British minefields, his Afrika Korps came within an ace of running out of ammunition and fuel, but his legendary luck held.’
      • ‘And they went within an ace of creating the season's biggest upset by putting an end Shelbourne's unbeaten record.’
      • ‘In 1999, he came within an ace of causing a major upset in the Ballinrobe Electoral Area.’
      • ‘TWO goals on either side of the interval - the second an own goal - brought a battling Johnstown team within an ace of creating the first shock of the SFC at Newbridge on Saturday.’
      • ‘And never forget we came within an ace of doing the same in Birmingham Hodge Hill as well.’
      • ‘The knock-on effect meant it was a depleted Queensbury second string that took on Division Two pacesetters Newsome Panthers at Hill Top and they came within an ace of pulling off the shock of the day.’
      • ‘In the summer of 1873 France came within an ace of restoration.’
      • ‘Kildare went within an ace of pulling off an unlikely win in Crossmaglen on Sunday.’
      • ‘After taking Fiji to within an ace of beating France in the World Cup, his new charges accounted for Scotland at the Stadio Flaminio last week.’
      • ‘Draughts u - 10 boys also had the satisfaction of winning silver in their county decider coming within an ace of defeating Castledermot.’
      • ‘Last week, we were within an ace of the success we have all been working for. We are still within an ace of success.’
      • ‘Do you feel - as several of your teammates have expressed - a sense of regret that the team was within an ace of getting to the semifinals?’
      • ‘Even though Guthrie admits that Britain came within an ace of calling up its reservists, which would have seen 14,000 part-time soldiers of the Territorial Army in the colours, it was a move too far for Britain's European partners.’
      • ‘You know, Mara came within an ace of staying behind to oversee us?’
      • ‘Tony Robinson traces the course of the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, one of the most significant moments in British history, showing how newly empowered peasants came within an ace of toppling the monarchy.’
      • ‘For example, my publisher at Wesleyan got so exasperated in the attempt to locate my whereabouts that they came within an ace of hiring a private investigator to find me and make me sit still long enough for them to send me a royalty check.’
      • ‘In the blue-ribbon Sydney seat of Willoughby, an independent came within an ace of defeating the Liberal candidate.’
      going to, ready to, all set to, preparing to, intending to, soon to
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English (denoting the ‘one’ on dice): via Old French from Latin as unity, a unit.

Pronunciation:

ace

/eɪs/