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What is the definition of "throw the gauntlet down"? I googled for it and only got examples where it's used, but no actual definition of the phrase.

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closed as general reference by Hugo, Kristina Lopez, Hellion, Robusto, MετάEd Jan 28 '13 at 3:10

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Hint: Don't limit your search to Google. A search engine will return many results related to pop culture, such as song titles or TV episodes, not necessarily related to definitions and root meanings. Try OneLook.com, which returns results from several online dictionaries. Moreover, when I googled this expression, I found many links with definitions; for example: here, here, and here. – J.R. Mar 1 '12 at 9:47
what did you exactly google for? I googled: 'definition "throw the gauntlet down"' – 719016 Mar 1 '12 at 10:06
You made your query to restrictive. Take out the word definition. Simply google: throw the gauntlet down - no quotes. – J.R. Mar 1 '12 at 10:28
@J.R.: That's only relevant in this particular case because the standard expression is "throw down the gauntlet", not "throw the gauntlet down". And those people who use the non-standard word order are likely not to be people who are particularly careful with their choice of phrasing, or care much about the origin of the expression. – FumbleFingers Mar 1 '12 at 12:43
@FumbleFingers: You can google it either way, and the same results will appear. (I tested that earlier, but didn't feel the need to clarify, since either query would have given him the answer he wanted). The sole point of my first comment was to point out that the answer was readily available on-line; the sole point of my second was to clarify how I had found the answer so easily, while he did not. – J.R. Mar 1 '12 at 15:00
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Wikipedia has a definition for this idiom:

Throw down the gauntlet: To "throw down the gauntlet" is to issue a challenge. A gauntlet-wearing knight would challenge a fellow knight or enemy to a duel by throwing one of his gauntlets on the ground. The opponent would pick up the gauntlet to accept the challenge.

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This visually wonderful idiomatic expression means to challenge someone to an argument or some kind of intellectual combat or dual. Here is an example: "Annie has thrown down the gauntlet again and asked her friends to take on her views."

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It's commonly used of political ultimata or upcoming sporting events. In the former, arguments are what you have when you aren't issuing ultimata, and in the latter intellectual prowess is not the most vital. – Jon Hanna Jan 27 '13 at 18:24

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