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A.Word.A.Day--mano a mano

Pronunciation RealAudio

mano a mano (MA-no a MA-no) plural manos a manos


In direct competition; head to head.


One-on-one; face-to-face.


1. A bullfight where two matadors compete in turn, fighting several bulls.

2. A direct or face-to-face confrontation.

[From Spanish mano a mano, literally hand to hand.]

"Surprise. Mr. Garvey wasn't chosen. Now Mr. Garvey is going mano a mano with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority." The Blacksmith and His Grudge; The New York Times; Feb 5, 2005.

"Stories keep circulating that Mitchell has a thing for mano-a-mano dust-ups with his players." Dave Feschuk; Coach Mitchell's Been Known to Pack a Punch; Toronto Star (Canada); Feb 12, 2005.

Hola from Buenos Aires, Argentina! I'm enjoying my first visit to South America's southernmost country. I'd always been fascinated about this land ever since I read about the Argentine Pampas and gauchos (cowboys) in my middle school geography. I've been learning Spanish for some time and am looking forward to trying it out with my Argentine friends. That, and to check for myself which way water flows down the drain.

Getting back to the word stuff... the name Argentina comes from Latin argentum (silver). Question: What other country has its name derived from a metal? Hint: it's an island nation named after copper. While you mull over that, I'll head out and smell some good air.

This week we'll feature five words borrowed from Spanish. Even though these are called loanwords, we don't really return them. Rather, we repay by letting Spanish-speaking nations like Argentina borrow English words from us.

-Anu Garg garg AT wordsmith.org


The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher. -Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist and writer (1825-1895)

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