Picking Up The Gauntlet

Alex J. Cavanaugh is co-hosting a blog challenge, and I’m taking him up on it. During the month of April, participants are to blog every day except Sundays (I WILL blog on Sundays), with each day’s post beginning with or based on subsequent letters of the alphabet. I think it’ll be awesome! beautiful! cool! delightful! exciting! fun!

Speaking of gauntlets, you do know there’s a difference between gauntlets and gantlets, right?

The Gower Gauntlet, courtesy of Glamorgan County Golf Union

You throw one of these down to issue a challenge, and you pick up a thrown down one to accept the challenge. I don’t care what anybody says, it isn’t a form of punishment where you have to run between rows of people who are trying to hurt you. That’s a gantlet. LISTEN TO ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU!

Okay, use the two interchangeably. See if I care. You’re not hurting anybody but yourself.

WRITING PROMPT: Have a character throw down or pick up a metaphorical gauntlet or run a metaphorical gantlet.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Picking Up The Gauntlet

  1. Nancy Williams

    January 27, 2011 at 9:21am

    I’m in for that challenge too. I figure by April I will have recovered.

    “I tell you, Tim, pick up the pickle off the floor and run to the kitchen to throw it away.”

    “Mom, I’m waiting for it to sprout wings!”

    I’m pretty tired but I think that works?
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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  2. AlexJCavanaugh

    January 29, 2011 at 2:39pm

    And glad you’ve decided to join us for the fun! This challenge made such a difference last year, and I made some really great blogging buddies as well.

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  3. Cara Lopez Lee

    February 3, 2011 at 12:24pm

    Thank you for pointing out the difference between and history behind those two words. I didn’t know! It seems several dictionaries have given up and do permit the “gauntlet” spelling for both meanings. I suppose we can forgive them, since both words are pronounced the same. According to my American Heritage Dictionary: “The spelling ‘gauntlet’ is acceptable for both ‘gauntlet’ meaning ‘glove’ or ‘challenge’ and ‘gauntlet’ meaning a ‘form of punishment in which lines of men beat a person forced to run between them’; but this has not always been the case…” According to this dictionary’s historians, the first type of “gauntlet” comes from the word “gantelet,” a diminutive of “gant,” which means “glove.” However, “to run the gauntlet,” or as you point out, “to run the gantlet,” originally comes from the Swedish word “gatlopp,” a compound of “gata” (lane) and “lopp” (course). The first recorded instance of someone using “gauntlet” for that second meaning was in 1676. The “au” won, though now that I’ve read your blog, I’ll never again use it without a twinge of guilt.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 3, 2011 at 3:15pm

      Oh, Cara, the English language is so weird, it’s a wonder any of us can use it at all! Think of all the people who say “Welsh rarebit” because they think that’s what it’s supposed to be and that those of us who call it “Welsh rabbit” are ignorant rubes. Fact is, it was “rabbit” before it was “rarebit,” so there to those people! 😉 I love the changeability of the language–except when I don’t. Proactive. It’s been around since 1933–longer than I have, if you can believe that–but I still don’t like it. 😉

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