Did You Know?
Gauntlet comes from Middle French gantelet, the diminutive of gant, meaning “glove.” (The gauntlet that means “severe trial,” “ordeal,” or “double file of armed men” is a different word that originates from Swedish gata, meaning “lane” or “way.”) To throw down the gauntlet is to issue an open challenge, while to pick up the gauntlet is to accept an open challenge. These figurative phrases come from the conventions of medieval combat. The gauntlet was the glove of a suit of armor. To challenge someone to combat, a knight would throw his glove at another knight’s feet. The second knight would take it up if he intended to accept the challenge, in which case a jousting match might ensue.Merriam Webster Dictionary