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GAUNTLET

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GAUNTLET

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:26 pm

• gauntlet •

Pronunciation: gawnt-let • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A military punishment in which a man is stripped to the waist and made run between two lines of other men who strike him with sticks or whips. 2. The leather glove covered with armor that usually accompanies a suit of armor.

Notes: Today we are offering our pre-spring sale of two words in the guise of one. This word is (or these words are) now rarely used outside two phrases: 'to run the gauntlet', meaning "to survive a lot of obstacles", and 'to throw down the gauntlet' meaning "to challenge". But how can you run something that you can also throw down? Today's Word History contains the answer.

In Play: Because we have survived the Age of Chivalry, when the two meanings of today's Good Word could be used literally, this word is now used only figuratively: "Before she reached her position in management, Marilyn had to run the usual gauntlet of male chauvinist taunts and jibes." If Marilyn made it to the top of a US corporation, she probably threw down the gauntlet before a few of those good old boys, too.

Word History: In the sense of "a glove", today's Good Word was borrowed from Old French gantlet "a little glove", diminutive of gant "glove". By the early 15th century the U had already crept in and this word was spelled gauntlette for a short while, following the French spelling of its diminutives. The other sense of today's word comes from another word, originally gantlope, a word borrowed from Swedish gatlopp "gauntlet", the equivalent of German Gassenlauf "alley run". The Swedish word is a compound made up of gata "lane" + lopp "course". The extraneous N had crept into the spelling of this word by the middle of the 17th century under the influence of the other word, making their spelling identical. (Today we thank Flora Podratz for throwing down the gauntlet and challenging us to explain the two meanings of this mysterious Good Word.)
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:29 am

Watching an older episode of the UK series "Merlin", now
on US SyFy channel, a gauntlet was thrown. I wonder
how many modern TV watchers missed the image.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby bamaboy56 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:45 pm

Probably a bunch. Once, when one of my coworkers challenged another to a contest of strength, I made the comment "the gauntlet has been thrown". They looked at me like I had suddenly begun speaking Klingon. I thought it was a phrase most everyone knew. Not so, it seems.
Be who you are and say what you feel in your heart. Because those that matter, don't mind. And those that mind, don't matter.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:36 am

I wonder if one can pin a date to when the
"dumbing down of America" began.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:20 pm

1492?
pl
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:22 pm

As a person with a Native American grandmother,
I can only chuckle out loud and agree wholeheartedly.
Good one, thanks.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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