to pull out one's ace

zipp404

Senior Member
Bilingual English|Español
Hello

To pull out one's ace.

I don't know any idioms that allude to card games. Could someone please explain to me what this expression means exactly?

Here's the context [taken from I have No Fear by Niccolò Ammniti]:

Skull wanted to wring the chiken's neck, put a stick up its arse and fix it on the ground on top of the mountain.... An impaled hen might be taken as a sign of witchcraft. But Skull pulled out his ace. "Straight up the hill. No stopping. Last one there pays a forfeit", he said.

Thank you kindly.
 
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  • 20000miles

    Member
    English - Australia
    Hi there!

    If you pull out your ace it means you use a powerful skill, or object, that you posses.

    It's also quite common in difficult situations to say something like:

    "Don't worry. I have an ace up my sleeve." (I have a secret weapon that will help me).

    Hope that's clear enough!
     
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    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    To add to the explanation by 20000miles: In many card games, the Ace is the highest-value card in the deck.
     

    zipp404

    Senior Member
    Bilingual English|Español
    Thanks for the explanation. I understand your explanation of the idiom, but I still can't see how it fits, what it means within the cited context. What's Skulls' "secret weapon" or "powerful skill"? The challenge that he issues to his mates to race up the mountain top? Any ideas? Thank you so much.
     
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    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Because of the "But" that begins that sentence, I share your confusion. I have no idea what the author is talking about. If his "ace" is "straight of up that hill," it is quite odd to me... and I have no clue as to how the chicken could be his "ace" because of the phrasing of the entire paragraph. (At this point in a book, I usually shake my head and move on. :))
     

    zipp404

    Senior Member
    Bilingual English|Español
    Perhaps the following sentence highlighted in red might help in interpreting what the idion means in this context:

    Skull wanted to wring the chiken's neck, put a stick up its arse and fix it on the ground on top of the mountain.... An impaled hen might be taken as a sign of witchcraft. But Skull pulled out his ace. "Straight up the hill. No stopping. Last one there pays a forfeit", he said. A race! why? It was obvious. To get his own back at Barbara. She would come last and would have to pay.

    Is that Skulls "ace"? Knowing that Barbara would lose the race, so he could make her pay because he did not like her?
     
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