handle (someone or something) with gloves

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handle (someone or something) with gloves

To handle with very gentle care, often to the point of coddling. The phrase "handle with kid gloves" is also commonly used. Kid gloves are very soft leather gloves, typically made from the skin of a young goat (a "kid"). I can't stand the way my family always handles us with gloves, trying to protect us from every little thing! We'll need to handle the two parties in the merger with gloves—both clients are extremely sensitive.
See also: glove, handle

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]
See also: glove, handle