to have an ace up your sleeve

Idiom Definition

"to have an ace up your sleeve"

to have a secret or hidden plan ready to implement if necessary

Idiom Definition - an ace up your sleeve


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - an ace up your sleeve

Craig has just made a major sales presentation to some prospective new clients.  Making this sale would not only assure Craig's rising sales career but would keep his company in business for the next three years.  This is a big big sales pitch.  Unfortunately, the prospective customers are not impressed and it looks as if Craig will not make the sale.  One of Craig's coworkers whispers to the person beside him...

"Craig always has an ace up his sleeve."

In this context, Craig will produce or present an idea or further information that will allow the sale to be made.  For example, he might tell the prospective customers that his company will produce the product for one half the price that the competition charges.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - an ace up your sleeve

The weather is becoming cold.  There is a killing frost forecast for tonight.  All my plants outside will freeze and die.  What am I going to do?  Well, ...

"I have an ace up my sleeve."

I have some large sheets that I have stored out in the shed.  I am going to put covers over all the plants and they will not freeze.

to have an ace up your sleeve - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   120   click for frequency by country

to have an ace up your sleeve - Gerund Form:

Having an ace up your sleeve shows forethought and planning.

to have an ace up your sleeve - Examples:

1)  I usually have an ace up my sleeve when I foresee a difficult situation.

2)  You usually have an ace up your sleeve if you are prepared.

3)  He usually has an ace up his sleeve when he goes to meetings.

4)  She usually has an ace up her sleeve.

5)  The government has an ace up its sleeve for the next election.

6)  We usually have an ace up our sleeves to use if we are losing a game.

7)  You (all) usually have aces up your sleeves so that you (all) are prepared for anything.

8)  They usually have aces up their sleeves when they negotiate an important transaction.

9) That was no concern for Mendes, because he had another ace up his sleeve

10)  The ace up his sleeve was the casual way that he dropped the threat of a break-away European super league.

11) He's got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. 

12)  On top of that, they have an ace up their sleeve in their new coach, a familiar face in this part of the world. 

13)  Well I would argue not quite, as Ferrari have an ace up their sleeve that can never be underestimated -- reliability.

14)  Apple definitely has an ace up their sleeve thanks to their very own cloud network.

15) You view it as keeping the status quo (the ace up your sleeve) so as to have the "power" in the relationship. 

16)  This card is the ace up your sleeve you've been waiting to play. It's your secret weapon.

17)  The Amiga also had an ace up its sleeve by the fact that it was TV compatible and could be used for editing footage.

18)  Luckily Honda retains the ace up its sleeve: reliability.

19) Always have an additional ace up my sleeve in a firefight. 

20)  But Nikita had an ace up her sleeve: Alex, a girl she trained to infiltrate Division.