Ace Up Your Sleeve
Ace Up Your Sleeve : Phrases
A surprise or secret advantage, especially something tricky that is kept hidden until needed.
In the 1500s, most people didn’t have pockets in their clothes, so they kept things in their sleeves. Later on, magicians hid objects, even small live animals, up their sleeves and then pulled them out unexpectedly to surprise their audiences. In the 1800s dishonest card players secretly slipped a winning card, often an ace, up their sleeves and pulled it out when nobody was looking.
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