1 : a glove worn with medieval armor to protect the hand
2 : any of various protective gloves used especially in industry
3 : an open challenge (as to combat) - used in phrases like throw down the gauntlet
4 : a dress glove extending above the wrist
Did You Know?
"Gauntlet" comes from Middle French "gantelet," the diminutive of "gant," meaning "glove." (The "gauntlet" that means "severe trial," "ordeal," or "double file of armed men" is a different word that originates from Old Swedish "gata," meaning "road," and "lop," meaning "course.") "To throw down the gauntlet" means "to issue an open challenge." "To pick up the gauntlet" means "to accept an open challenge." These figurative phrases come from the conventions of medieval combat. The gauntlet was the glove of a suit of armor. To challenge someone to combat, a knight would throw his glove at another knight's feet. The second knight would take it up if he intended to accept the challenge, in which case a jousting match might ensue.
After dinner, Roger threw down the gauntlet and challenged his brother to a game of basketball out in the driveway.
"Democratic challengers are throwing down the gauntlet in Virginia's 5th District for the chance to face off with Republican incumbent Rep. Robert Hurt." - The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Virginia), March 11, 2014
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