Definition of mano a mano in US English:

mano a mano

adjective & adverb

  • (of combat or competition) hand-to-hand.

    as adverb ‘they want to settle this mano a mano’
    as adjective ‘the exhilaration of the mano-a-mano battle’
    • ‘Just as he's able to bring unquestioned muscle to visualizing an epic, Scott has primal, mano a mano conflict down pat.’
    • ‘The time has come for Calgary's business community to compete with Toronto mano a mano.’
    • ‘That's where we left them, with Ronnie winning his seventh Mr. Olympia on the final mano a mano challenge, and Jay consigned to a close second for the third time.’
    • ‘Goldberg played the Jewish GI in Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan who has the agonizing and fatal mano a mano battle with the Nazi soldier.’
    • ‘But at the end of the day, what truly makes the NFL so much more popular than its rival sports is the violence and mano-a-mano confrontations on which it's based.’
    • ‘Sam Raimi loses a little of the film's momentum when the special-effects team takes over, and the story degenerates into a succession of mano-a-mano encounters between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin.’
    • ‘This will take bodybuilding into a combative mano-a-mano arena never before seen.’
    • ‘Secondly, most of the story of Gladiator centred around mano a mano confrontations of one sort or another.’
    • ‘Let's hope he's right, and that the mano-a-mano matches produce a boffo finish.’
    • ‘This is not some private mano a mano battle.’
    • ‘A masterful bunter who navigated the bases with aplomb, Carew studied pitchers as if they were textbooks, looking for any advantage he might use in mano a mano confrontations.’
    • ‘The way we should elect our President is by having a mano-a-mano contest of skill.’
    • ‘Akiko and Hashio get to settle an old-time lovers' feud mano-a-mano.’
    • ‘Who could race mano a mano with The King or The Silver Fox?’
    • ‘Now, a mano a mano struggle between the two giants is under way.’
    • ‘Had he shrunk himself down to the size of a cell and injected himself into sick patients' bodies, to battle mano-a-mano with their disease-causing microbes?’
    • ‘Fortunately, the film's centerpieces, the two mano-a-mano confrontations between Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro, are stunning.’
    • ‘Of course there's the end scene where the villain and the hero have a nice little mano-a-mano fight to the death.’
    • ‘Even when you locate the commander, it won't always be a mano a mano match.’


  • An intense confrontation, contest, or fight between two adversaries.

    ‘a real courtroom mano-a-mano’
    • ‘Would he care to desist his blathering on what is clearly an unfair system, and step outside and settle this mano-a-mano?’
    • ‘Everything seemed to indicate that a continued confrontation in mano-a-manos was going to take place between these two superstars.’
    • ‘A day before their mano-a-mano in Miami, they appear to have a lot in common.’
    • ‘When they separate at the climax for their mano-a-manos, it's hard to care about Chan, whose conclusion is foregone, and you keep waiting for Wilson to come back on screen, because at least he offers a couple of surprises in his weirded-out line deliveries.’
    affair of honour, mano-a-mano, single combat
    View synonyms


Spanish, literally ‘hand-to-hand’.


mano a mano

/ˌmänō ä ˈmänō/