"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Sunday, 25 October 2009

To handle with kid gloves

To handle with kid gloves means to treat something very gently or to be very tactful. Kid gloves were made from the skin of a young goat or lamb. They were softer and finer than gloves made from harder leathers, and so became a symbol of elegance and gentility in the early 1800s. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term can be traced back to at least the 1830s.

Around the 1850s, saying that someone "wore kid gloves" was also a way of saying the person was very dainty, a person who avoided any real exertion or everyday work; genteel and upper class. (The kid glove which I am wearing above was one of my grandmother's and dates from around 1900. It really is beautifully soft. She appears to be wearing gloves - possibly these - within the muff in the photo below from 1901.)



  1. Not sure what fur the muff is made off. I know Nana had an ermine muff but that was quite different - and even had the little tails still on - ugh!