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to take up the gauntlet
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gauntlet \Gaunt"let\, n. [F. gantelet, dim. of gant glove, LL. wantus, of Teutonic origin; cf. D. want, Sw. & Dan. vante, Icel. v["o]ttr, for vantr.] 1. A glove of such material that it defends the hand from wounds. [1913 Webster] Note: The gauntlet of the Middle Ages was sometimes of chain mail, sometimes of leather partly covered with plates, scales, etc., of metal sewed to it, and, in the 14th century, became a glove of small steel plates, carefully articulated and covering the whole hand except the palm and the inside of the fingers. [1913 Webster] 2. A long glove, covering the wrist. [1913 Webster] 3. (Naut.) A rope on which hammocks or clothes are hung for drying. [1913 Webster] To take up the gauntlet, to accept a challenge. To throw down the gauntlet, to offer or send a challenge. The gauntlet or glove was thrown down by the knight challenging, and was taken up by the one who accepted the challenge; -- hence the phrases. [1913 Webster] .
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Take \Take\, v. t. [imp. Took (t[oo^]k); p. p. Taken (t[=a]k'n); p. pr. & vb. n. Taking.] [Icel. taka; akin to Sw. taga, Dan. tage, Goth. t[=e]kan to touch; of uncertain origin.] 1. In an active sense; To lay hold of; to seize with the hands, or otherwise; to grasp; to get into one's hold or possession; to procure; to seize and carry away; to convey. Hence, specifically: [1913 Webster] (a) To obtain possession of by force or artifice; to get the custody or control of; to reduce into subjection to one's power or will; to capture; to seize; to make prisoner; as, to take an army, a city, or a ship; also, to come upon or befall; to fasten on; to attack; to seize; -- said of a disease, misfortune, or the like. [1913 Webster] This man was taken of the Jews. --Acts xxiii. 27. [1913 Webster] Men in their loose, unguarded hours they take; Not that themselves are wise, but others weak. --Pope. [1913 Webster] They that come abroad after these showers are commonly taken with sickness. --Bacon. [1913 Webster] There he blasts the tree and takes the cattle And makes milch kine yield blood. --Shak. [1913 Webster] (b) To gain or secure the interest or affection of; to captivate; to engage; to interest; to charm. [1913 Webster] Neither let her take thee with her eyelids. --Prov. vi. 25. [1913 Webster] Cleombroutus was so taken with this prospect, that he had no patience. --Wake. [1913 Webster] I know not why, but there was a something in those half-seen features, -- a charm in the very shadow that hung over their imagined beauty, -- which took me more than all the outshining loveliness of her companions. --Moore. [1913 Webster] (c) To make selection of; to choose; also, to turn to; to have recourse to; as, to take the road to the right. [1913 Webster] Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken. --1 Sam. xiv. 42. [1913 Webster] The violence of storming is the course which God is forced to take for the destroying . . . of sinners. --Hammond. [1913 Webster] (d) To employ; to use; to occupy; hence, to demand; to require; as, it takes so much cloth to make a coat; it takes five hours to get to Boston from New York by car. [1913 Webster] This man always takes time . . . before he passes his judgments. --I. Watts. [1913 Webster] (e) To form a likeness of; to copy; to delineate; to picture; as, to take a picture of a person. [1913 Webster] Beauty alone could beauty take so right. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] (f) To draw; to deduce; to derive. [R.] [1913 Webster] The firm belief of a future judgment is the most forcible motive to a good life, because taken from this consideration of the most lasting happiness and misery. --Tillotson. [1913 Webster] (g) To assume; to adopt; to acquire, as shape; to permit to one's self; to indulge or engage in; to yield to; to have or feel; to enjoy or experience, as rest, revenge, delight, shame; to form and adopt, as a resolution; -- used in general senses, limited by a following complement, in many idiomatic phrases; as, to take a resolution; I take the liberty to say. [1913 Webster] (h) To lead; to conduct; as, to take a child to church. [1913 Webster] (i) To carry; to convey; to deliver to another; to hand over; as, he took the book to the bindery; he took a dictionary with him. [1913 Webster] He took me certain gold, I wot it well. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] (k) To remove; to withdraw; to deduct; -- with from; as, to take the breath from one; to take two from four. [1913 Webster] 2. In a somewhat passive sense, to receive; to bear; to endure; to acknowledge; to accept. Specifically: [1913 Webster] (a) To accept, as something offered; to receive; not to refuse or reject; to admit. [1913 Webster] Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer. --Num. xxxv. 31. [1913 Webster] Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore. --1 Tim. v. 10. [1913 Webster] (b) To receive as something to be eaten or drunk; to partake of; to swallow; as, to take food or wine. [1913 Webster] (c) Not to refuse or balk at; to undertake readily; to clear; as, to take a hedge or fence. [1913 Webster] (d) To bear without ill humor or resentment; to submit to; to tolerate; to endure; as, to take a joke; he will take an affront from no man. [1913 Webster] (e) To admit, as, something presented to the mind; not to dispute; to allow; to accept; to receive in thought; to entertain in opinion; to understand; to interpret; to regard or look upon; to consider; to suppose; as, to take a thing for granted; this I take to be man's motive; to take men for spies. [1913 Webster] You take me right. --Bacon. [1913 Webster] Charity, taken in its largest extent, is nothing else but the science love of God and our neighbor. --Wake. [1913 Webster] [He] took that for virtue and affection which was nothing but vice in a disguise. --South. [1913 Webster] You'd doubt his sex, and take him for a girl. --Tate. [1913 Webster] (f) To accept the word or offer of; to receive and accept; to bear; to submit to; to enter into agreement with; -- used in general senses; as, to take a form or shape. [1913 Webster] I take thee at thy word. --Rowe. [1913 Webster] Yet thy moist clay is pliant to command; . . . Not take the mold. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] 3. To make a picture, photograph, or the like, of; as, to take a group or a scene. [Colloq.] [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 4. To give or deliver (a blow to); to strike; hit; as, he took me in the face; he took me a blow on the head. [Obs. exc. Slang or Dial.] [Webster 1913 Suppl.] To be taken aback, To take advantage of, To take air, etc. See under Aback, Advantage, etc. To take aim, to direct the eye or weapon; to aim. To take along, to carry, lead, or convey. To take arms, to commence war or hostilities. To take away, to carry off; to remove; to cause deprivation of; to do away with; as, a bill for taking away the votes of bishops. "By your own law, I take your life away." --Dryden. To take breath, to stop, as from labor, in order to breathe or rest; to recruit or refresh one's self. To take care, to exercise care or vigilance; to be solicitous. "Doth God take care for oxen?" --1 Cor. ix. 9. To take care of, to have the charge or care of; to care for; to superintend or oversee. To take down. (a) To reduce; to bring down, as from a high, or higher, place; as, to take down a book; hence, to bring lower; to depress; to abase or humble; as, to take down pride, or the proud. "I never attempted to be impudent yet, that I was not taken down." --Goldsmith. (b) To swallow; as, to take down a potion. (c) To pull down; to pull to pieces; as, to take down a house or a scaffold. (d) To record; to write down; as, to take down a man's words at the time he utters them. To take effect, To take fire. See under Effect, and Fire. To take ground to the right or To take ground to the left (Mil.), to extend the line to the right or left; to move, as troops, to the right or left. To take heart, to gain confidence or courage; to be encouraged. To take heed, to be careful or cautious. "Take heed what doom against yourself you give." --Dryden. To take heed to, to attend with care, as, take heed to thy ways. To take hold of, to seize; to fix on. To take horse, to mount and ride a horse. To take in. (a) To inclose; to fence. (b) To encompass or embrace; to comprise; to comprehend. (c) To draw into a smaller compass; to contract; to brail or furl; as, to take in sail. (d) To cheat; to circumvent; to gull; to deceive. [Colloq.] (e) To admit; to receive; as, a leaky vessel will take in water. (f) To win by conquest. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] For now Troy's broad-wayed town He shall take in. --Chapman. [1913 Webster] (g) To receive into the mind or understanding. "Some bright genius can take in a long train of propositions." --I. Watts. (h) To receive regularly, as a periodical work or newspaper; to take. [Eng.] To take in hand. See under Hand. To take in vain, to employ or utter as in an oath. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." --Ex. xx. 7. To take issue. See under Issue. To take leave. See Leave, n., 2. To take a newspaper, magazine, or the like, to receive it regularly, as on paying the price of subscription. To take notice, to observe, or to observe with particular attention. To take notice of. See under Notice. To take oath, to swear with solemnity, or in a judicial manner. To take on, to assume; to take upon one's self; as, to take on a character or responsibility. To take one's own course, to act one's pleasure; to pursue the measures of one's own choice. To take order for. See under Order. To take order with, to check; to hinder; to repress. [Obs.] --Bacon. To take orders. (a) To receive directions or commands. (b) (Eccl.) To enter some grade of the ministry. See Order, n., 10. To take out. (a) To remove from within a place; to separate; to deduct. (b) To draw out; to remove; to clear or cleanse from; as, to take out a stain or spot from cloth. (c) To produce for one's self; as, to take out a patent. To take up. (a) To lift; to raise. --Hood. (b) To buy or borrow; as, to take up goods to a large amount; to take up money at the bank. (c) To begin; as, to take up a lamentation. --Ezek. xix. 1. (d) To gather together; to bind up; to fasten or to replace; as, to take up raveled stitches; specifically (Surg.), to fasten with a ligature. (e) To engross; to employ; to occupy or fill; as, to take up the time; to take up a great deal of room. (f) To take permanently. "Arnobius asserts that men of the finest parts . . . took up their rest in the Christian religion." --Addison. (g) To seize; to catch; to arrest; as, to take up a thief; to take up vagabonds. (h) To admit; to believe; to receive. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The ancients took up experiments upon credit. --Bacon. [1913 Webster] (i) To answer by reproof; to reprimand; to berate. [1913 Webster] One of his relations took him up roundly. --L'Estrange. [1913 Webster] (k) To begin where another left off; to keep up in continuous succession; to take up (a topic, an activity). [1913 Webster] Soon as the evening shades prevail, The moon takes up the wondrous tale. --Addison. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster] (l) To assume; to adopt as one's own; to carry on or manage; as, to take up the quarrels of our neighbors; to take up current opinions. "They take up our old trade of conquering." --Dryden. (m) To comprise; to include. "The noble poem of Palemon and Arcite . . . takes up seven years." --Dryden. (n) To receive, accept, or adopt for the purpose of assisting; to espouse the cause of; to favor. --Ps. xxvii. 10. (o) To collect; to exact, as a tax; to levy; as, to take up a contribution. "Take up commodities upon our bills." --Shak. (p) To pay and receive; as, to take up a note at the bank. (q) (Mach.) To remove, as by an adjustment of parts; as, to take up lost motion, as in a bearing; also, to make tight, as by winding, or drawing; as, to take up slack thread in sewing. (r) To make up; to compose; to settle; as, to take up a quarrel. [Obs.] --Shak. -- (s) To accept from someone, as a wager or a challenge; as, J. took M. up on his challenge. To take up arms. Same as To take arms, above. To take upon one's self. (a) To assume; to undertake; as, he takes upon himself to assert that the fact is capable of proof. (b) To appropriate to one's self; to allow to be imputed to, or inflicted upon, one's self; as, to take upon one's self a punishment. To take up the gauntlet. See under Gauntlet. [1913 Webster]