glove / gləv/ • n. a covering for the hand worn for protection against cold or dirt and typically having separate parts for each finger and the thumb. ∎ a padded protective covering for the hand used in boxing, baseball, and other sports. • v. [tr.] inf. (of a baseball catcher) catch, deflect, or touch (the ball) with one's glove. PHRASES: fit like a glove (of clothes) fit exactly. the gloves are off (or with the gloves off or take the gloves off) used to express the notion that something will be done in an uncompromising or brutal way, without compunction or hesitation: for the banks chasing this growing business, the gloves are now definitely off.DERIVATIVES: gloved adj. glove·less adj.
A glove as a type of something that fits or suits perfectly is recorded from the late 18th century.
The expressions handle without gloves and take the gloves off, recorded from the early 19th century and meaning, treat without mercy or forbearance, refer to boxing-gloves, and the notion of bare-knuckle fighting as being particularly vicious.
See also a cat in gloves catches no mice, hand in glove, iron hand in a velvet glove.