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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 /
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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.

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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. 2021

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