throw down the gauntlet

[ gawnt-lit, gahnt- ]SEE DEFINITION OF throw down the gauntlet
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

WORD ORIGIN

"glove," early 15c., gantelet, from Old French gantelet (13c.) "gauntlet worn by a knight in armor," also a token of one's personality or person, and symbolizing a challenge, e.g. tendre son gantelet "throw down the gauntlet" (a sense found in English by 1540s); semi-diminutive or double-diminutive of gant "glove" (12c.), earlier wantos (7c.), from Frankish *wanth-, from Proto-Germanic *wantuz "glove" (cf. Middle Dutch want "mitten," East Frisian want, wante, Old Norse vöttr "glove," Danish vante "mitten"), which apparently is related to Old High German wintan, Old English windan "turn around, wind" (see wind (v.)).

Italian guanto, Spanish guante are likewise ultimately from Germanic. The spelling with -u- was established from 1500s.

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Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.