Friday, June 24, 2011

Understand Idioms - Ace up your Sleeve & Achilles’ Heel

Ace up your Sleeve

“I don’t know how Henry is going to get his mom to buy him a bike, but I’m sure he has an ace up his sleeve”.
Meaning: a surprise or secret advantage, especially something tricky that is kept hidden until needed.
Origin: Back 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 to win the game.

Achilles’ Heel

I’m an ‘A’ student in math and science, but English is my Achilles’ heel.
Meaning: the one weakness, fault, flaw, or vulnerable spot in one’s otherwise strong character.
Origin: In the Iliad, the famous story about the TrojanWar by theGreek poet Homer, Achilles was a great hero and warrior. However,he had one weak spot, the heel of one foot. When he was a baby, his mother wanted to be certain that her son could never be harmed, so

she dipped little Achilles upside-down in the magical River Styx. Wherever the water touched his body, he became invulnerable. But since she was holding him by his heel, that part of him never got wet. Years later Achilles was killed in the TrojanWar by an enemy who shot a poisoned arrow into his heel.

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