Learn English Online - Idiomatic Expressions

Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


What does have a card up your sleeve mean?

Meaning of idioms with examples...

have a card up your sleeve


If you have a card up your sleeve, have a secret plan that can be used when needed.

The origin of this idiom

The phrase comes from card games. It refers to cheating or dishonest card players when they secretly put a card up their sleeve to be used when it is required.
Now the phrase is used to refer to a backup plan, a sort of contingency plan - an advantage that others don't have.

Variations of this phrase include:

- Have an ace up your sleeve.
- Have something up your sleeve.


- She still has got something up her sleeve, and it should solve all her problems.
- Our team has been the weakest in this tournament, but I think they've still got one or two cards up their sleeve.
- Nancy must have an ace up her sleeve; otherwise, she wouldn't have rejected that offer.

This idiom is in the clothes category

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