Gauntlet - Encyclopedia




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GAUNTLET (a diminutive of the Fr. gant, glove), a large form of glove, and especially the steel-plated glove of medieval armour. To "run the gauntlet," i.e. to run between two rows of men who, armed with sticks, rope-ends or other weapons, beat and strike at the person so running, was formerly a punishment for military and naval offences. It was abolished in the Prussian army by Scharnhorst. As a method of torturing prisoners, it was employed among the North American Indians. "Gauntlet" (earlier "gantlet") in this expression is a corruption of "gantlope," from a Swedish gatlope, from gata, lane, and lopp, a course (cf. Ger. gassenlaufen, to run the gauntlet). According to the New English Dictionary the word became familiar in England at the time of the T,iirty Years' War.

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