handle with gloves

Idioms & Phrases

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]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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