• synonyms

mano a mano

[Spanish mah-naw ah mah-naw; English mah-noh uh mah-noh]
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.
  1. (italics) Spanish. a corrida in which two matadors alternate in fighting two or three bulls each.
  2. a direct confrontation or conflict; head-on competition; duel.
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  1. being or resembling such a confrontation: a mano a mano struggle in the courtroom between two superb criminal lawyers.
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  1. in direct competition or rivalry: a brash newcomer in tennis taking on the reigning champion mano a mano.
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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. 2018

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Word Origin and History for mano a mano

1970s, Spanish, literally "hand-to-hand."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper