American English

Definition of gauntlet noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a metal glove worn as part of a suit of armor by soldiers in the Middle Ages
  2. 2a strong glove with a wide covering for the wrist, used for example when driving motorcyclists with leather gauntlets
  3. Idioms
    run the gauntlet
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    to be criticized or attacked by a lot of people, especially a group of people that you have to walk through Some of the witnesses had to run the gauntlet of television cameras and reporters. This phrase refers to an old army punishment where a man was forced to run between two lines of soldiers hitting him.
    take up the gauntlet
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    to accept someone's invitation to fight or compete His Republican rival may be expected to take up the gauntlet. In the Middle Ages, a knight threw his gauntlet at the feet of another knight as a challenge to fight. If he accepted the challenge, the other knight would pick up the glove.
    throw down the gauntlet
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    to invite someone to fight or compete with you She has thrown down the gauntlet to the newspaper by accusing it of libel.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: gauntlet