We may no much longer use yes, really gauntlets but in the heat of one argument, we still throw down a figurative one to issue a challenge...

You are watching: What does throw down the gauntlet mean

Gauntlets room a type of safety glove, greatly used this particular day in gardening or sporting activities such as falconry or fencing. The type of gloves we’re interested in, however, comes from the medieval duration – the moment of knights.

An necessary feature the the thick, heavy armour worn through knights was the gauntlet, as extending the hands and forearms was vital in medieval hand-to-hand combat. But as well as keeping a knight safe during a fight, a gauntlet might be offered to start one.

When one argument emerged between 2 knights, one noble might throw their armoured glove to the floor as a way of challenging the various other to a duel. To expropriate the difficulty the second would pick up the gauntlet – therefore the other renowned phrase, ‘take increase the gauntlet’.

Running the gauntlet

The native ‘gauntlet’ appears in a 3rd expression, return the beginning of this one has actually nothing to perform with gloves. To ‘run the gauntlet’ – meaning to experience a complicated or do the efforts ordeal – is quiet a part of armed forces history.

A standard kind of punishment in the Swedish armed forces in the beforehand 17th century to be to do the offending soldier walk between two present of his comrades armed with a stretch the rope or a baton. They would then to win him as they passed. The punishment either finished when the culprit got to the end of the passageway, ‘gantlope’ in Swedish, or when he died.

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During the Thirty Years battle of 1618-48, the English military embraced the brutal penalty and gantlope transformed right into gauntlet, maybe due to the gauntlet’s present association with fighting.

This short article was taken indigenous BBC background Revealed magazine



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