- The definition of a gauntlet is glove or an intimidating, frightening, and sometimes dangerous thing that must be endured or gone through in order to reach a desired place or an end goal.
- An example of gauntlet is a long glove with a flared cuff which is worn for protection.
- An example of gauntlet is a form of punishment when a person is forced to run between two rows of people who are armed with sticks which they use to strike out at the runner.
The helmet from a suit of armour with a pair of gauntlets.
gauntlet definition by Webster's New World
- a medieval glove, usually of leather covered with metal plates, worn by knights in armor to protect the hand in combat
- a long glove with a flaring cuff covering the lower part of the arm
- the flaring cuff
Origin: Middle English ; from Old French gantelet, diminutive of gant, a glove ; from Frankish an unverified form want, a mitten, akin to East Frisian wante
gauntlet definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- A protective glove worn with medieval armor.
- A protective glove with a flared cuff, used in manual labor, in certain sports, and for driving.
- A challenge: throw down the gauntlet; take up the gauntlet.
- A dress glove cuffed above the wrist.
Origin: Middle English, from Old French gantelet, diminutive of gant, glove, from Frankish *want.
- a. A form of punishment or torture in which people armed with sticks or other weapons arrange themselves in two lines facing each other and beat the person forced to run between them.b. The lines of people so arranged.
- An onslaught or attack from all sides: “The hostages . . . ran the gauntlet of insult on their way to the airport” (Harper's).
- A severe trial; an ordeal.
Origin: Alteration (influenced by gauntlet1) of gantlope, from Swedish gatlopp : gata, lane (from Old Norse; see ghē- in Indo-European roots) + lopp, course, running (from Middle Low German lōp).Word History: The spelling gauntlet is acceptable for both gauntlet meaning “glove” or “challenge” and gauntlet meaning “a form of punishment in which lines of men beat a person forced to run between them”; but this has not always been the case. The story of the gauntlet used in to throw down the gauntlet is linguistically unexciting: it comes from the Old French word gantelet, a diminutive of gant, “glove.” From the time of its appearance in Middle English (in a work composed in 1449), the word has been spelled with an au as well as an a, still a possible spelling. But the gauntlet used in to run the gauntlet is an alteration of the earlier English form gantlope, which came from the Swedish word gatlopp, a compound of gata, “lane,” and lopp, “course.” The earliest recorded form of the English word, found in 1646, is gantelope, showing that alteration of the Swedish word had already occurred. The English word was then influenced by the spelling of the word gauntlet, “glove,” and in 1676 we find the first recorded instance of the spelling gauntlet for this word, although gantelope is found as late as 1836. From then on spellings with au and a are both found, but the au seems to have won out.
gauntlet - Phrases/Idioms
take up the gauntlet
- to accept a challenge
- to undertake the defense of a person, etc.
throw down the gauntlet