take gloves off
take the gloves off
To begin to behave in a more hostile or tenacious way. Usually used to describe a dispute or fight. The image is that of removing boxing gloves, which cushion the blows. It's time for the prosecution to take the gloves off and introduce their key witness. You can tell that she's taken the gloves off now—just look at the ferocity and focus in her eyes.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
take one's gloves off
Fig. to stop being calm or civil and show an intention of winning a dispute by any means. (As if boxers were to remove their gloves in order to inflict more damage. See also The gloves are off.) Both of them took their gloves off and really began arguing.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.