Meaning of mano a mano

ma•no a ma•no

Pronunciation: (Sp. mä'nô ä mä'nô Eng. mä'nō &schwa mä'nō), [key]
— pl. ma•nos a ma•nos
  1. (italics)a corrida in which two matadors alternate in fighting two or three bulls each.
  2. a direct confrontation or conflict; head-on competition; duel.
  3. being or resembling such a confrontation: a mano a mano struggle in the courtroom between two superb criminal lawyers.
  4. in direct competition or rivalry: a brash newcomer in tennis taking on the reigning champion mano a mano.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.