The gloves should come well and truly off

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I understand "The gloves should come well and truly off" as "the fight should be picked up and we will do our best effort to win it." Well, it simply is a guess. The nuance, especially about "the gloves should come well", is beyond me.

What does it mean?

The AIDS denialists are still around. Their damaging effects have diminished in recent years, but many of them are now the "anti-vaxxer" movemet, peddling the lies that compromise vaccine uptake by a significant number of people with adverse public health outcomEEes that all too apparent. Publicly naming and shaming these conspiracy theorists for who and what they really are-and what they also believe-can be an effective tactic. The gloves should come well and truly off.

Source: Scientific American. July 2019. Page 4
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  • Dryan

    Senior Member
    English - Northeastern U.S.
    Gloves coming off is a boxing idiom. It means that two people were already inclined to fight but are so incensed that they removed their (boxing) gloves in order to inflict the most possible damage during the fight.

    Not only do they want to fight, they want to seriously harm one another.


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In legal boxing matches, the fighters wear "boxing gloves". Bare fists are too damaging, and create too many injuries. In an illegal fight, where the 2 fighers are trying to maim or kill each other, "the gloves come off".

    Note that the text you quoted is strongly biased. "Publicly naming and shaming" people you disagree with is anti-scientific. Any attempt to silence or discredit people with opposing views is anti-scientific. It's sad for me to see this text in Scientific American, though I am not an "AIDS denialist".
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