Gloves are off, take the gloves off

The gloves are off and take the gloves off are phrases which mean from this point forward nothing will be held back, no restraint or mercy will be shown. Related terms are takes the gloves off, took the gloves off, taking the gloves off, the gloves are coming off, among other iterations. The phrase appears in the mid-nineteenth century, its origins are murky. Some say take the gloves off comes from the sport of boxing, referring to taking off padded gloves in order to engage in a more brutal, less structured bare-knuckled fight. Another origin story references the fact that at one time gentlemen were used to wearing gloves, and when a gentleman was going to engage in an ungentlemanly pursuit he would first take off his gloves. Either explanation seems plausible.



But Cruz on Thursday took the gloves off in response to Ingraham’s questions, which were pointedly about Rubio and the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” coalition that introduced the 2013 immigration bill. (The Washington Post)

Time to take the gloves off. (The Herald Argus)

“It’s one-two in the championship, we’ve secured it. it’s now gloves off for Abu Dhabi,” said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff immediately after Sunday’s race. (Reuter’s)

‘Japan Lobby’ takes the gloves off in PR battle (The Japan Times)

BRIXHAM needs to take the gloves off and unite to fight for its future ‘having once again been ignored’ by Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver. (The Torquay Herald-Express)

Clinton vs. Sanders: Why the Gloves Are Coming Off in the Democratic Primary (The Fiscal Times)

The confrontational New Yorker has also indicated he’ll take the gloves off if Cruz becomes a threat to his nomination. (The Chicago Tribune)


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  1. How about a hockey origin, the practice of taking of their gloves before a fight? “Dropping the gloves”.

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