card up sleeve


have a card up sleeve


  • to have a secret advantage that is suddenly revealed to change the game
  • a hidden resource

Example Sentences

  1. He did not just leave his house. He had a card up his sleeve that he did not even reveal to his family, which was his new flat in a posh locality.
  2. The competition should always be checked for cards up their sleeves when you can.
  3. The card up her sleeve was her only son, now that he is all grown up, her life has become extremely luxurious.
  4. Brexit may seem like a poor decision to the rest of the world but England is always known to have a card up its sleeve in such matters.
  5. Before coming to a conclusion please check the card up his sleeve. You will know that he always had a back-up plan and did not trust you so much.
  6. The lawyer who is good, always keeps one card up his sleeve to ensure that he wins the case.
  7. Before he make a decision, let’s see if the rivals have another card up their sleeve.


Seemingly obvious, this phrase originates from the world of cards and especially poker where having a secret resource could be a winning factor. The literary origin of this phrase cannot be traced accurately.

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