Two commonly confused expressions are “to operation the gamut” and “to operation the gauntlet.”

Gamut originated as a middle ages musical term. Words is still used to average “the full selection of notes that a voice or instrument deserve to produce.” Figuratively, gamut way “the full variety or limit of something.” for example, a person could “run the gamut of emotions from fury to despair.”

Gauntlet derives from the French word for glove: gant. In the center Ages, a gauntlet to be a reinforced glove, typically made that leather, extended with plates of steel.

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A middle ages custom offered rise to figurative expression still provided in modern English: one items would difficulty another by cram down one of his gauntlets. His opponent, if ready to fight, would pick up the gauntlet. From this tradition derive the expressions “to cast the gauntlet,” “to fling under the gauntlet,” and “to throw down the gauntlet,” meaning, “to concern a challenge.” Likewise, modern speakers use the expression “to take up the gauntlet,” meaning “to expropriate a challenge.”

The indigenous gauntlet in the expression “to run the gauntlet” has nothing to carry out with the word for glove. It’s a corrupted type of the sweden word gatlopp, i beg your pardon was borrowed into English through the definition “military penalty in which the offender runs between rows of men who beat the in passing.”

Early order of gatlopp in English to be gantelope and also gantlope. In ~ the exact same time, gauntlet had the different spellings gantelet and gantlet. No surprisingly, the words came to be confused v one another: “to run the gantlope” came to be “to operation the gantlet.” and also eventually, “to run the gauntlet.”

Purists object to the assignment gauntlet in the expression “to run the gauntlet.” part stylebooks, especially Chicago and also AP, support gantlet, yet Paul Brians (Common Errors in English Usage), disposes of the gantlet variation as a variant.

On the Ngram Viewer chart start with 1800, “to run the gauntlet” is by much the an ext common form. The earliest citation of “to run the gauntlet” in the OED is dated 1676.

Bottom line: “To operation the gauntlet” is the more common version of the expression the means, “to run previous a heat of world who are trying to hurt you.” It can be used either literally or figuratively:

Political prisoners in Tehran’s Evin prison have actually allegedly been required to operation a gauntlet of armed guards armed with batons.

Kasich, if the is to run a successful race because that president, will have to run the gauntlet of the Republican primaries first.

What is no acceptable is mixing up “running the gauntlet” with “running the gamut.”

The following instances are from printed books. The first two room from self-published novels, but the third—O tempora, O mores—is indigenous a significant nonfiction book published through Penguin:

INCORRECT: His emotions ran the gauntlet from calm come sobbing quietly. Mike Holst, The Last pilgrimage Down the Mountain, iUniverse, 2011.CORRECT : His emotions ran the gamut from calm come sobbing quietly. 

INCORRECT: Their experiences ran the gauntlet from “sadistic preferential” pedophiles, to serial killers that were depressive or enraged… invoice Riveron, The Trojan Killer, AuthorHouse, 2011.CORRECT : Their experiences ran the gamut from “sadistic preferential” pedophiles, to serial killers who were depressive or enraged…

INCORRECT: therapy ran the gauntlet indigenous kindness to torture. Deborah J. Swift, The tin Ticket, Penguin, 2010CORRECT : therapy ran the gamut native kindness come torture.

If an adverb phrase follows “to operation the gauntlet,” the many usual options for the preposition to present it room past or through:

Farragut ran the gauntlet past Vicksburg’s weapons 28 June.

Men fell back on either next so that he ran the gauntlet through their ranks.


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8 Responses come “Running the Gamut and also Running the Gauntlet”

Charlie Vaughanon July 05, 2015 6:31 am

Interesting piece.

Actually, ns can’t recall see the expression ” operation the gamut” used.

I am certain I have actually only check out “run the complete gamut”, at least that is the phrase that is in ~ the forefront of my mind.

However, offered your explanation here, the is most likely incorrect , due to the fact that gamut means ” full” !

Orison July 05, 2015 7:14 am

Any error in the complying with example?

The personalities of Mr. Tee who I offered to know has actually ran the gamut from noteworthy to derisison -He is currently a liar! Thus, i fling down the gauntlet for him to expropriate by going earlier on radio and make correction come all details he gave and also aired around me as they room derisive and stigmatic to mine personality.

David Knuttunenon July 05, 2015 12:14 pm

It is amazing that this consumption of “gauntlet” had actually its origin in a confusion of two similar words, “gantlet” because that “gantlope”. (In this case, probably a acquainted word, “gantlet”, filling in because that an unfamiliar one, “gantlope”.) What is happening, now, is that an unusual but fairly familiar word, “gauntlet” is being substituted for a much much more unfamiliar word, “gamut”. Mistakes of today become the usages the tomorrow. No that i disagree with the conclusion that this article (“What is no acceptable is mixing up ‘running the gauntlet’ through ‘running the gamut."”) i am every in donate of delaying the inevitable decay as long as possible.

venqaxon July 05, 2015 8:27 pm

Mistakes of today become the usages that tomorrow.Yes, and there is no factor for that to be an acceptable state that affairs. Ignorance is seldom a an excellent reason for change. Supposedly, today the general populace is not illiterate and also we have thousands of alleged professionals writing, editing, and also generally utilizing language. For this reason such resources of “evolution” room no longer legitimate. Writers and also educated users have to be educating human being away from their mistakes (cf DWT), no embracing and also imitating them.

If *gantlet* is a historic variant and also the “running the…” has actually no etymological relationship to the glove and is certainly simply a product of bad hearing, climate it appears perfectly appropriate and advisable to accept it. So:

“Run the gamut native A to Z.”“Throw down the gauntlet in challenge.”“Run the gantlet of pen of pen-pricks because that misusing gauntlet and also gamut.”

Signalmanon July 08, 2015 2:42 pm

Interesting piece.Strangely , i can’t recall seeing the expression ” operation the gamut” used.

I am sure I have only read “run the full gamut”, at the very least that is the phrase that is at the head of my mind.

However, offered your explanation here, that is probably is incorrect , since gamut means ” full” !

Maeveon October 05, 2015 11:45 am

Oris,“Any error in the following example?”Where to begin?!

Suzanneon October 24, 2015 11:52 am

I think the networks should have a grammar editor to correct the errors ofNewscasters, TV hosts, etc.

Also, is “run the gantlet” at some point correct?

Willon march 13, 2016 10:18 pm

Thank you, I uncovered my method here this night after experiencing similar “issues” v these two phrases.

I execute wonder if there was a deliberate mistake thrown in together we’ve invested an otherwise enlightening couple of hours in the firm of an esteemed author and also wordsmith.

As a professional Session Musician, Performer, Composer and Orchestrator the term “run the gamut” is component of day-to-day conversation and vocabulary. To it is in quite ethical if you room not running the gamut every time girlfriend rehearse, perform, compose or orchestrate then you are not offering your whole self come the task.

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As it to be a little group that no more than ten of us, the style of his presentation was much more like an open up discussion. The was during this the the author asked me, “Did I operation the gauntlet whilst performing?” i couldn’t resist answering him, “Yes, we perform run the gauntlet often. If we obtain 2 note wrong during a power we space subjected come running in between 4 rows of musical directors every beating us rather rhythmically v their batons.”

Unfortunately my effort at humour was met v a couple of spicy intakes that breath and also has brought about a suddenly drop new Musicians involvement UK Orchestras.

If it doesn’t pick up soon, I have a sneaking hesitation that the next human to challenge running the gauntlet will be myself and also going indigenous experience, need to one survive the lunging Batons, Bows, Drumsticks and anything pointy. The final round will be “for the high jump.”