Fighting with Gloves on
Sparring without showing animosity; fighting with weapons or
words with coloured friendliness. Fighting, like boxers, with boxing
gloves. Tories and Whigs in the two Houses of Parliament fight with
gloves on, so long as they preserve all the outward amenities of
debate, and conceal their hostility to each other by seeming
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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