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Jan 5, 2010
This week's theme
Covering the extremities

This week's words
cothurnal
gauntlet
buskin
sock
discalced

Gauntlet (Sense: 1, 2)
gauntlet
(Illustration: Handbuch der Waffenkunde, 1890)

Gauntlet (Sense: 3, 4)
running the gauntlet
(Illustration: Frundsberger Kriegsbuch (war-book) of Jost Ammann, 1525)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

gauntlet

PRONUNCIATION:
(GONT-let, GAHNT-)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A long thick glove worn as part of medieval armor.
2. A challenge.
To throw down the gauntlet: to challenge someone.
To take up the gauntlet: to accept a challenge.
3. A form of military punishment where a person was forced to run between two rows of people who struck him as he passed in front of them.
Used in the phrase: to run the gauntlet.
4. An attack from all sides; a severe trial or ordeal.

ETYMOLOGY:
For 1, 2: From Old French gantelet, diminutive of gant (glove). The metaphorical sense of the word arises from the medieval custom of a knight throwing his gauntlet to the ground to challenge someone. An opponent would pick it up to indicate that he accepted the challenge.
For 3, 4: An alteration of gantlope, influenced by the word gauntlet, from Swedish gatlopp (lane run).

USAGE:
"Qantas's budget airline Jetstar has thrown down the gauntlet to other no-frills airlines by adding an extra 700,000 seats with discounted fares."
Andrew Heasley; Jetstar Ramps Up Discount War; The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia); Dec 10, 2009.

"We had to run the gauntlet of well-financed and powerful opposition to secure the assets for the future of the game and our new league," said AF1 board member William Niro."
Arena Football One completes purchase of AFL assets; The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, California); Dec 21, 2009.

See more usage examples of gauntlet in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Naive you are / if you believe / life favours those / who aren't naive. -Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)

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