Handle with kid gloves

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Handle with kid gloves is an idiom with its roots in fashion in the 1700s.  An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will look at the definition of the term handle with kid gloves, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To handle something with kid gloves means to handle something delicately and carefully, to deal with a person or a situation gingerly. Kid gloves are gloves that are made out of leather made from kid goat. Such gloves are dainty and do not wear well. The first references to kid gloves is found in the 1700s, though at this time kid gloves were actually made from lamb. Kid gloves were considered ostentatious and an affectation. In the late 1800s, the term to handle something with kid gloves became an American idiom. Related phrases are handles with kid gloves, handled with kid gloves, handling with kid gloves.


Nardwuar appears to his interviewees as a socially toxic superfan, the kind of person most entertainers have learned to handle with kid gloves stuck to the end of a 10-foot pole. (The New York Times)

“This is what happens when you handle with kid gloves abusive PNP officers and coddle and protect them,” Escudero said, referring to the same-day reinstatement of Superintendent Marvin Marcos, the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief implicated in the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Jr. while in government custody last November. (The Philippine Star)

It is the Sunnis we must handle with kid gloves in an open-ended commitment to walk them through the most thankless and grueling counterinsurgency operations. (The Week Magazine)