Up One’s Sleeve

Lisa C. Newcomer Information

In today’s “English Idioms for Newcomers“, let’s take a look at this expression Up One’s Sleeve.

What does “up one’s sleeve” mean?
  • to have secret ideas
  • to be secretly ready with plans
  • to have a hidden fallback plan that is likely to ensure success
What’s the origin of “up one’s sleeve”?
  • Magicians always keep tricks up their sleeves. Card players, in order to cheat and win, always hide an ace or another favourable card up their sleeves.
How to use “up one’s sleeve”?
  • Use it with “have”. You can say “have a trick or a plan up one’s sleeve”.
  • Always have something up your sleeve for the unexpected.
  • He has a plan up his sleeve if he doesn’t get the promotion he asked for.

Before you go, check out our English Learning tips articles!

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Word of the Day:

Fallback: an alternative plan, Plan B, something you can fall back on if Plan A doesn’t work out