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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To Have An Ace Up One's Sleeve

Idiom: to have an ace/something up one's sleeve; used as a verb

First Example:
Victor: Are you nervous about your audition tomorrow?
Jean: A little, but I think I have a pretty chance at getting the role.
Victor: What makes you so confident?  It sounds like a lot of people are auditioning for this movie.
Jean: Well, I kind of have an ace up my sleeve.  I knew the director when we were kids.  His sister was my best friend.
Victor: Do you think he'll remember you?
Jean: I changed my name when I got married, so he won't recognize the name, but I spent a lot of time at his house.  He has to remember me. 

Meaning: The expression "have an ace up one's sleeve" means to have a secret or surprise that will give that person an advantage.  The expression originally comes from people cheating at poker, when holding an ace (the most valuable card) up one's sleeve would give that person an advantage over the other players.  While it can still used for cheating in poker, the expression now has a less negative meaning when used in everyday conversation, as seen above. In this example, Jean believes that her knowing the director will help her get the movie role she is auditioning for.   Furthermore, the idiom has developed further so that "something" can now be used instead of "ace", with the expression "to have an something up one's sleeve" having the same meaning as the original, as in the next example:

Chris: Are you going to do anything special during the wedding ceremony tomorrow?
Edward: No.
Chris: I don't believe you.  I think you have something up your sleeve.
Edward: Well, promise not to tell anyone.
Chris: OK, I promise.
Edward: I'm going to sing Kate's favorite song to her during the ceremony, but no one really knows.  I want it to be a surprise, and I can't wait to see the look on her face.
Chris: She's gonna love it.    

In this case, Edward has a surprise "up his sleeve" for his wedding; he will be singing his new bride's favorite song to her.


Note: this idiom is related to LSI's upcoming Las Vegas trip over Thanksgiving weekend.  For more information, contact the Marketing Department or ask the front desk at your school.

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