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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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