Australian English, South African English, AfrikaansShow more Etymology obscure: perhaps from Australian English, referring to the single mark on a playing card; reinforced in South African English by the similarity in sound between ‘ace’ and Afrikaans eie (in the phrase op jou eie on your own.
In the phrase on one’s ace:on one’s own, alone.
Also Australian and N.Z. English. The spelling ‘Uys’ (quotation 1972) is a play on an Afrikaans surname pronounced ‘ace’.
1972R. MalanAh Big Yaws 53There can be a certain isolationist pride in doing things on your Uys.
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