the gloves are off
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Related to the gloves are off: hand and glove, treat with kid gloves, take the gloves off, fit like a glove
gloves are off
People are beginning 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. Well, the gloves are off now—Mom and Aunt Gertrude are screaming at each other in the kitchen.
gloves are off
Fig. There is going to be a serious dispute. (As if boxers had removed their gloves in order to inflict more damage. See also take the gloves off.) Bob got mad and yelled, "Ok, the gloves are off!" and started cussing and pounding the table.
the gloves are offJOURNALISM
If you say the gloves are off you mean that two people or groups are ready and keen to fight or compete aggressively with each other. It's said that the gloves are off in the custody battle between Jones and Miller over their four-year-old son. Note: You can also say that someone takes the gloves off, meaning they get ready to fight or compete with someone else or that the gloves come off. The president is apparently waiting until after the convention to take the gloves off and really begin the campaign. In the software price war, the gloves are coming off. Note: The reference here is to boxers fighting with bare fists, which is more dangerous than fighting with gloves on.
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.
The contrast implied in this phrase is with a gloved hand handling things gently or in a civilized way.
the gloves are ˈoff(informal) in an argument, dispute, etc., stop being gentle with somebody and start fighting them with force and determination: Up to now both sides in the dispute have been cautious, but now the gloves are off and a serious confrontation is expected.
This idiom refers to boxers taking off their gloves.