mano a mano

adverb or adjective

ma·​no a ma·​no ˌmä-nō-ä-ˈmä-nō How to pronounce mano a mano (audio)
: in direct competition or conflict especially between two people

Examples of mano a mano in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The culmination of the Gavin Newsom-Ron DeSantis bromance was a mano a mano mess of a matchup of two governors who depend on each other to whip up the kind of polarizing frenzy that feeds headlines and advances careers. Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 For those who are blissfully unaware, DeSantis earlier this month accepted Newsom’s mano a mano challenge to debate on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2023 Two elite competitors, head-to-head, mano a mano on the clay or grass, waging some kind of ultra-athletic chess match. Shawn McFarland, Dallas News, 7 Aug. 2023 With a full crowd at Halas Hall on Monday erupting in oohs or ahs during one-on-one passing drills on one side of the field, general manager Ryan Poles intently watched the mano a mano pass-rushing drills going on near the weight room. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 1 Aug. 2023 Six minutes on the mat, mano a mano. San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Jan. 2023 Two titans, mano a mano, steel sharpening steel. Scott Ostler,, 22 Aug. 2020 Chapter 4 takes the nonstop choreography of mano a mano combat, foot chases, car chases, and gun violence to delirious extremes. Armond White, National Review, 24 Mar. 2023 Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans go mano a mano in the Russo brothers’ globetrotting 2022 espionage thriller. Los Angeles Times, 22 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mano a mano.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish, literally, hand to hand

First Known Use

1950, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mano a mano was in 1950

Dictionary Entries Near mano a mano

Cite this Entry

“Mano a mano.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

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