mano a mano

[ Spanish mah-naw ah mah-naw; English mah-noh uh mah-noh ]
/ Spanish ˈmɑ nɔ ɑ ˈmɑ nɔ; English ˈmɑ noʊ ə ˈmɑ noʊ /

noun, plural ma·nos a ma·nos [Spanish mah-naws ah mah-naws; English mah-noh uh mah-nohz, mah-nohz uh mah-nohz] /Spanish ˈmɑ nɔs ɑ ˈmɑ nɔs; English ˈmɑ noʊ ə ˈmɑ noʊz, ˈmɑ noʊz ə ˈmɑ noʊz/ for 1, 2.

(italics) Spanish. a corrida in which two matadors alternate in fighting two or three bulls each.
a direct confrontation or conflict; head-on competition; duel.

adjective

being or resembling such a confrontation: a mano a mano struggle in the courtroom between two superb criminal lawyers.

adverb

in direct competition or rivalry: a brash newcomer in tennis taking on the reigning champion mano a mano.

Origin of mano a mano

< Spanish: on an equal footing, without advantage (to either of two contestants); literally, hand to hand
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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