gauntlet

A gauntlet is a glove covered in steel that was worn in suits of armor, but it also means punishment or, when "throwing down the gauntlet," a challenge.

Gauntlet comes from the Old French word for "glove," which was thrown down as a symbol of a challenge. “Running the gauntlet” is an old military form of punishment in which the victim runs between two rows of men wearing armored gloves, who beat him as he passes through the lines. Today, if someone makes you run the gauntlet, they won’t really strike you with armored gloves, but they'll probably make you do something miserable.

Primary Meanings of gauntlet

1.
n
a glove of armored leather; protects the hand
2.
n
a form of punishment in which a person is forced to run between two lines of men facing each other and armed with clubs or whips to beat the victim
Full Definitions of gauntlet
1

n a glove of armored leather; protects the hand

Synonyms:
gantlet, metal glove
Type of:
glove
handwear: covers the hand and wrist

n a glove with long sleeve

Synonyms:
gantlet
Type of:
glove
handwear: covers the hand and wrist

n a call to engage in a contest or fight

Synonyms:
challenge
Types:
show 7 types...
hide 7 types...
dare, daring
a challenge to do something dangerous or foolhardy
confrontation
a bold challenge
call-out
a challenge to a fight or duel
defiance
a hostile challenge
calling into question, demand for explanation
a challenge to defend what someone has said
demand for identification
as by a sentry
gantlet
to offer or accept a challenge
Type of:
speech act
the use of language to perform some act

n an offer or acceptance of a challenge

“threw down the gauntlet
“took up the gauntlet
Synonyms:
gantlet
Type of:
challenge
a call to engage in a contest or fight
2

n a form of punishment in which a person is forced to run between two lines of men facing each other and armed with clubs or whips to beat the victim

Synonyms:
gantlet
Type of:
corporal punishment
the infliction of physical injury on someone convicted of committing a crime

n a severe or trying experience

Synonyms:
ordeal
Type of:
experience
an event as apprehended

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.