Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ace n.

[the characteristics of SE ace, one (at dice, in cards), as superior and singular]

1. [late 16C–1900s] the vagina.

2. [17C–mid-19C] (also ace of spades) the penis.

3. from the high value of the card.

(a) [late 19C+] (orig. US) an important, influential person; someone of high quality or held in high esteem; an outstanding person.

(b) [late 19C+] (orig. Aus.) an expert.

(c) [1910s+] something useful, important.

(d) [1940s+] (US black) a very close friend.

(e) [1940s+] (US) a detective.

(f) [1950s+] a term of (intimate) address.

(g) [1960s] (US campus) used sarcastically, a fool, a clumsy person.

(h) [1960s+] (US campus) the grade of A.

(i) [1970s] a professional killer.

4. as a single unit.

(a) [late 19C+] (US) $1; $1’s worth.

(b) [1910s] (US) a single example.

(c) [1920s+] (US Und.) a one-year jail sentence.

(d) [1950s–60s] (UK Und.) £1.

(e) [1960s] (US gambling) the one-spot on a die.

5. in drug contexts.

(a) [1930s+] (US drugs) marijuana, a marijuana cigarette.

(b) [1970s+] (US drugs) phencyclidine (PCP), a dangerous hallucinogenic based on animal (pig) tranquillizer.

(c) [1970s+] (US drugs) one single pill of amphetamine, barbiturate or tranquillizer.

(d) [2000s] (US prison) a puff on a cigarette.

In compounds

ace-note (n.)

[1920s–60s] (US) a $1 bill.

In phrases

ace in the hole (n.) [poker use, the ‘hole card’ is that which is kept face-down on the table]

[20C+] (orig. US) a hidden asset.

ace of hearts (n.)

[early 17C] the vagina.

ace of spades (n.) [the black colour]

1. [19C+] a widow [the widow’s clothes].

2. [late 19C+] the female genital area [a fig. ‘black hole’].

3. [1940s+] a black person; sometime derog. but usu. used by blacks themselves to designate a friend, a loyal trustworthy person [spade n.].

4. [2000s] (also ace of arse) the area of dark skin around the anus.

ace of trumps (n.) [a trump card ‘defeats’ everything]

[early 18C] the female genital area.

ace up one’s sleeve (n.) [poker use, but with suggestions of underhand methods, rather than careful, but still legal, planning]

[late 19C+] (orig. US) a hidden advantage, not to be revealed until a suitable moment.

black ace (n.) (also ace of clubs) [? the colour and shape (i.e. the spade suit) of the pubic hair]

[mid-17C] the female genital area.

draw an ace (v.)

[1990s+] to produce a clean sheet of toilet paper, having wiped one’s anus thoroughly.

hold aces (v.) (also hold all the aces, hold an ace full)

[late 19C+] (US) to be in total control.

on one’s ace

[20C+] (Aus./N.Z./S.Afr.) on one’s own.

red ace (n.) [mid–late 19C]

the female genital area.

slick ace (n.)

[1920s] (US Und.) a card in a crooked deck.

wanton ace (n.)

[19C] the vagina.