Ace in the hole


      • a hidden advantage or resource
        Referring to a secret or hidden asset that can be used to gain an advantage in a situation or overcome a difficult obstacle

      • a last resort or backup plan
        Describing a final option or tactic that can be used in case all other plans or strategies fail

    Examples of Ace in the hole

    • The politician had an ace in the hole during the debate, which he revealed at the last minute to sway the audience's opinion.

      This idiom refers to having a secret advantage or strategy that can be used to gain an upper hand in a situation. The phrase "ace in the hole" comes from poker, where an ace is a high-ranking card that can turn the tide of a game. In this context, the politician had a hidden argument or piece of information that he saved for the end, surprising and impressing his opponents and supporters alike.Bite the bullet

    • The surgery was going to be painful, but the doctor told me to bite the bullet and get it over with.

      This idiom is used to describe facing a difficult or unpleasant situation head-on, rather than avoiding or delaying it. The phrase "bite the bullet" comes from the practice of soldiers biting down on a bullet to numb the pain during surgery or amputation. In this context, the speaker is preparing themselves mentally for a challenging experience, accepting that it will be painful but ultimately necessary.Break a leg

    • Before the play, the actors wished each other luck and said, "Break a leg!"

      This idiom is a humorous way of wishing someone good luck, but with a twist. The phrase "break a leg" comes from the superstition that wishing someone "good luck" is bad luck, as it draws attention to the idea of luck and invites misfortune. By saying "break a leg," the speakers are acknowledging this superstition and jokingly asking the actors to perform so well that they might actually break a leg (injure themselves) from all the applause and excitement.Hit the nail on the head

    • The student's essay perfectly captured the theme of the assignment, hitting the nail on the head.

      This idiom is used to describe accurately identifying or addressing a problem or issue. The phrase "hit the nail on the head" comes from the practice of carpentry, where hitting a nail directly and precisely onto the head of a nail drives it in quickly and efficiently. In this context, the student's essay was so insightful and well-written that it immediately and accurately addressed the topic at hand.Pull out all the stops

    • The company pulled out all the stops to impress the potential investors at the presentation.

      This idiom is used to describe going to great lengths or exerting all available resources to achieve a goal. The phrase "pull out all the stops" comes from the practice of organ music, where the "stops" are the mechanisms that control the sound and volume of the organ. In this context, the company spared no expense or effort in preparing for the presentation, using all of their resources and expertise to make a strong impression on the investors.


    The idiom "ace in the hole" is commonly used to refer to a hidden advantage or resource that can be used to gain an advantage or overcome a difficult situation. It can also be used to describe a last resort or backup plan that can be used when all other options have been exhausted. In both cases, the idiom emphasizes the idea of having a secret or hidden resource that can be used to turn the tide in one's favor.

    Origin of "Ace in the hole"

    The origin of the idiom "ace in the hole" can be traced back to the game of poker. In this game, players are dealt cards from a deck and must use their hand to make the best combination of cards. In some variations of the game, players also have the option to keep one or more cards hidden from the other players. These hidden cards are known as the "ace in the hole" and can be revealed at any time to give the player an advantage.

    Over time, the term "ace in the hole" began to be used in a wider context to refer to any hidden advantage or resource that can be used to gain an advantage. It is now commonly used in both literal and figurative contexts, and has become a popular idiom in the English language.

    Examples of the idiom being used in its figurative sense can be found in literature and popular culture. For instance, in the novel "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the main character Jay Gatsby is described as having "an ace up his sleeve" in his pursuit of Daisy Buchanan. This is a reference to his hidden wealth and resources, which give him an advantage in trying to win her back.

    Overall, the idiom "ace in the hole" has a strong association with the idea of having a hidden advantage or resource, and its origin in the game of poker adds an element of secrecy and intrigue to its usage.