- a medieval glove, as of mail or plate, worn by a knight in armor to protect the hand.
- a glove with an extended cuff for the wrist.
- the cuff itself.
- take up the gauntlet,
- to accept a challenge to fight: He was always willing to take up the gauntlet for a good cause.
- to show one's defiance.
- throw down the gauntlet,
- to challenge.
- to defy.
Origin of gauntlet1
- a former punishment, chiefly military, in which the offender was made to run between two rows of men who struck at him with switches or weapons as he passed.
- the two rows of men administering this punishment.
- an attack from two or all sides.
- trying conditions; an ordeal.
- gantlet1(def 1).
- run the gauntlet, to suffer severe criticism or tribulation.
Origin of gauntlet2
Examples from the Web for gauntlet
He may have reservations about going through that [gauntlet] drill again.Friday Night Lights Out: The Concussion Debate Hits the Texas Youth Leagues
October 26, 2013
Students who survive the gauntlet and make it into college face a whole new set of challenges.The Not-So-Bright Future of Palestine's Class of 2013
June 21, 2013
Tensions escalated when Fieri decided to throw down a gauntlet of his own on the Today show on Thursday morning.Guy Fieri Battles Scathing New York Times Review by Pete Wells
November 16, 2012
A middle-class woman to boot, she ran the gauntlet of upper-class men marinated in sexism and class prejudice.The Sexy Side of Maggie: How Thatcher Used Her Softer Quality
January 11, 2012
With those seven simple words, once politically fatal for a Republican leader to utter, the gauntlet was thrown.Budget Fight: Obama Needs to Stop Playing Politics
April 15, 2011
I have half a mind to go back for the little maiden's gauntlet.'Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
And so, reluctantly, they led him down the gauntlet of widened eyes.Ruggles of Red Gap
Harry Leon Wilson
I flung my gauntlet of buffalo-hide at his feet in gage of battle.The Shame of Motley
But—he had watched Lestrange all day; he did not lift the gauntlet.The Flying Mercury
Eleanor M. Ingram
Dicksie smoothed her gauntlet in the assured manner natural to her.Whispering Smith
Frank H. Spearman
- a medieval armoured leather glove
- a heavy glove with a long cuff
- take up the gauntlet to accept a challenge
- throw down the gauntlet to offer a challenge
- a punishment in which the victim is forced to run between two rows of men who strike at him as he passes: formerly a military punishment
- run the gauntlet
- to suffer this punishment
- to endure an onslaught or ordeal, as of criticism
- a testing ordeal; trial
- a variant spelling of gantlet 1 (def. 1)
Word Origin and History for gauntlet
"glove," early 15c., gantelet, from Old French gantelet (13c.) "gauntlet worn by a knight in armor," also a token of one's personality or person, and symbolizing a challenge, e.g. tendre son gantelet "throw down the gauntlet" (a sense found in English by 1540s); semi-diminutive or double-diminutive of gant "glove" (12c.), earlier wantos (7c.), from Frankish *wanth-, from Proto-Germanic *wantuz "glove" (cf. Middle Dutch want "mitten," East Frisian want, wante, Old Norse vöttr "glove," Danish vante "mitten"), which apparently is related to Old High German wintan, Old English windan "turn around, wind" (see wind (v.)).
The name must orig. have applied to a strip of cloth wrapped about the hand to protect it from sword-blows, a frequent practice in the Icelandic sagas. [Buck]
Italian guanto, Spanish guante are likewise ultimately from Germanic. The spelling with -u- was established from 1500s.
military punishment in which offender runs between rows of men who beat him in passing, 1660s, earlier gantlope (1640s), from Swedish gatlopp "passageway," from Old Swedish gata "lane" (see gate) + lopp "course," related to löpa "to run" (see leap). Probably borrowed by English soldiers during Thirty Years' War. Modern spelling, influenced by gauntlet (n.1), not fixed until mid-19c.
fling (throw) down the gauntlet
To issue a challenge: “The candidate flung down the gauntlet and challenged his opponent to a debate.” A gauntlet was a glove; the wearer would throw it to the ground to show that he was challenging an opponent to fight.