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mano a mano

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English

Etymology

Spanish, literally hand to hand; on equal footing, neither of two participants having any distinct advantage.

Noun

mano a mano or mano-a-mano

  1. A head-on conflict or direct competition; a duel.
    The other candidates seemed to disappear as the public debate became a heated mano-a-mano between the two leading candidates.

Adjective

mano a mano or mano-a-mano

  1. In close confrontation.
    We sat tensely in the courtroom while the mano-a-mano struggle ensued between the two skilled lawyers.

Adverb

mano a mano or mano-a-mano

  1. Characterized by head-to-head competition or conflict.
    The newcomer brashly engaged the veteran player mano-a-mano.

Usage notes

This phrase is commonly misunderstood by English speakers who think that the term means “man to man”, though in use this meaning would still be similar.


Spanish

Phrase

mano a mano

  1. hand to hand (competition), or sometimes hand in hand (cooperation); on equal terms, close together.

Noun

mano a mano

  1. A corrida in which two rival matadors alternate in fighting several bulls each.

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