handle with gloves

Also, handle with kid gloves. Treat with great or very gently, as in She has a terrible temper, so try to handle her with kid gloves. This usage probably alludes to the antonym, handle without gloves, meaning “to treat harshly.” Gloves made of kidskin, the hide of a young goat, are soft and pliable, whence the transfer to delicate treatment. [Second half of 1800s]

Nearby words

  1. handkerchief,
  2. handkerchief table,
  3. handlanger,
  4. handle,
  5. handle to one's name,
  6. handlebar,
  7. handlebar moustache,
  8. handlebars,
  9. handled,
  10. handler

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.