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Running the gauntlet

July 7, 2012

A very interesting reversal of words is in process. A "gauntlet" is the double-line of people that a supplicant for, say, knighthood had to run through while being hit and poked by sticks or whatever. a "gantlet" was a glove, usually of the iron sort worn with a suit of armor.

So one would throw down the gantlet to challenge someone to a duel. But now throwing down the gauntlet has become the more common expression. An understandable confusion, and one that is come to be acceptable to most dictionaries. But today I ran across someone who was running the gauntlet of criticism for something, and a reader corrected him to "gantlet." And so the words are changing places.

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