Imagine for a moment you are sitting in your cubicle at work and you overhear a conversation: should your company should continue to sell to the same consumer base, thus ensuring a marginal profit, or try to go after a different demographic. Due to the inherent risk and weight of this decision, expressions such as “ace up your sleeve” are being thrown around. Do you actually know what this term means? The origin behind it? In today’s competitive business environment you must have a working understanding of the business jargon related to your industry, or else you risk being taken advantage of. Read on to increase your general knowledge of American business idioms. Think of it as an “ace up your sleeve.”

Idiom: Ace up your Sleeve

Definition: A surprise or a secret advantage kept hidden until needed

Idiom: ace up your sleeveExample: I’m sure he has an ace up his sleeve seeing how he has remained calm through this entire thing despite everybody’s rush and panic.

Origin: Pockets were not as common in the 1500s as they are now. Because of this fact, people often kept things in their sleeves. This was also something that magicians in that era took advantage of, hiding small animals and other objects that they needed for their tricks inside their sleeves. Eventually, in the 1800s, dishonest card players decided to take advantage of this trick as well, hiding aces in their sleeves and pulling it out discreetly before it’s time to reveal their cards.


Accent Pros idioms series

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