[ gawnt-lit, gahnt- ]
/ ˈgɔnt lɪt, ˈgɑnt- /


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.

Nearby words

  1. gaum,
  2. gaumless,
  3. gaun,
  4. gaunt,
  5. gaunt, john of,
  6. gauntlet bandage,
  7. gauntry,
  8. gaup,
  9. gaur,
  10. gause's law


    take up the gauntlet,
    1. to accept a challenge to fight: He was always willing to take up the gauntlet for a good cause.
    2. to show one's defiance.
    Also take up the glove.
    throw down the gauntlet,
    1. to challenge.
    2. to defy.
    Also throw down the glove.

Origin of gauntlet

1375–1425; late Middle English gantelet < Middle French, diminutive of gant glove < Germanic *want-; compare Old Norse vǫttr

Related formsgaunt·let·ed, adjectiveun·gaunt·let·ed, adjective

Can be confusedgambit gamut gantlet gauntlet


[ gawnt-lit, gahnt- ]
/ ˈgɔnt lɪt, ˈgɑnt- /

noun Also gantlet (for defs 1, 2, 4).

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.

verb (used with object)

Origin of gauntlet

First recorded in 1670–80; alteration of gantlope Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gauntlet

British Dictionary definitions for gauntlet




/ (ˈɡɔːntlɪt) /


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

Word Origin for gauntlet

C15: from Old French gantelet, diminutive of gant glove, of Germanic origin


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
  1. to suffer this punishment
  2. to endure an onslaught or ordeal, as of criticism
a testing ordeal; trial
a variant spelling of gantlet 1 (def. 1)

Word Origin for gauntlet

C15: changed (through influence of gauntlet 1) from earlier gantlope; see gantlet 1

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gauntlet
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for gauntlet

fling (throw) down the gauntlet

[ (gawnt-luht) ]

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.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with gauntlet


see run the gauntlet; throw down the gauntlet.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.