AskDefine | Define mitten

Dictionary Definition

mitten n : glove that encases the thumb separately and the other four fingers together [syn: mittens]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A type of glove or garment that covers a hand with a separate sheath for the thumb, but not for other fingers




  1. In the middle.
    Mitten auf der Straße lag ein toter Hund.
    "There lay a dead dog in the middle of the street."



  1. Definite singular of mitt; the middle.

Extensive Definition

A glove (Middle English from Old English glof) is a type of garment (and more specifically a fashion accessory) which covers the hand of a human. Gloves have separate sheaths or openings for each finger and the thumb; if there is an opening but no covering sheath for each finger they are called "fingerless gloves". Fingerless gloves with one large opening rather than individual openings for each finger are sometimes called gauntlets. Gloves which cover the entire hand but do not have separate finger openings or sheaths are called mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves made of the same material because fingers maintain their warmth better when they are in contact with each other. As well, the reduced surface area means that there is less heat loss.
There is also a hybrid of glove and mitten which contains open-ended sheaths for the four fingers (as in a fingerless glove, but not the thumb) and also an additional compartment encapsulating the four fingers as a mitten would. This compartment can be lifted off the fingers and folded back to allow the individual fingers ease of movement and access while the hand remains covered. The usual design is for the mitten cavity to be stitched onto the back of the fingerless glove only, allowing it to be flipped over (normally held back by Velcro or a button) to transform the garment from a mitten to a glove.
Gloves can serve to protect and comfort the hands of the wearer against cold or heat, physical damage by friction, abrasion or chemicals, and disease; or in turn to provide a guard for what a bare hand should not touch. Latex, nitrile rubber or vinyl disposable gloves are often worn by health care professionals as hygiene and contamination protection measures. Police officers often wear them to work in crime scenes to prevent destroying evidence in the scene. Many criminals also wear these gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints, which makes the crime investigation more difficult.
Fingerless gloves are useful for bikers and where dexterity is required that gloves would restrict. Cigarette smokers and church organists often use fingerless gloves. Some gloves include a gauntlet that extends partway up the arm. Cycling gloves for road racing or touring are usually fingerless.
Gloves have been made of many materials including cloth, knitted or felted wool, leather, rubber, latex, neoprene, and metal (as in mail). Modern gloves made of kevlar protect the wearer from cuts. Gloves and gauntlets are also integral components of pressure suits and spacesuits such as the Apollo/Skylab A7L which went to the moon. Spacesuit gloves must combine extreme toughness and environmental protection with a degree of sensitivity and flexibility if the astronaut is to do any manual work.
Today gloves are made around the world. Most expensive women's fashion gloves are still made in France, with some made in Canada. For cheaper male gloves New York State, especially Gloversville, New York is still a world centre of glove manufacturing. More and more glove manufacturing is being done in East Asia, however.


Fingerless gloves

Fingerless gloves (or glovelettes) are garments worn on the hands which resemble regular gloves in most ways, except that the finger columns are half-length and opened, allowing the tops of the wearer's fingers to emerge through.

Design and use

Fingerless gloves are often padded in the palm area, to provide protection to the hand, and the exposed fingers do not interfere with sensation or gripping. In contrast to traditional gloves, often worn for warmth, fingerless gloves will often have a ventilated back to allow the hands to cool; this is commonly seen in weightlifting gloves.
Fingerless gloves are also worn by bikers as a means to better grip the handlebars, as well as by skateboarders and rollerbladers, to protect the palms of the hands and add grip in the event of a fall. Some anglers, particularly fly fishermen, favor fingerless gloves to allow manipulation of line and tackle in cooler conditions.


Fingerless gloves are usually leather and have a distinct appearance. Much like rocker jackets, they are sometimes worn by people who wish to display a certain sense of rebellion, recklessness, "toughness" or general disregard for the standards of society (such as John Bender in The Breakfast Club). This is why they are quite common in heavy metal and punk fashion and are sometimes decorated with metal studs or spikes. Some non-conformist individuals would wear a single glove on one hand leaving the other hand glove-less.
A woolen variety became popular in the early 1980s, largely due to the example of English pop star Nik Kershaw.
Fingerless gloves are also known as "hobo gloves", due to their association with homeless people.

Types of glove

Commercial and industrial

Sport and recreational


Contrary to popular belief, mittens are not actually gloves They are actually a cloth covering that separates the thumb from the other four fingers. They are mostly woolly, and many of them have different colors and designs.


mitten in Danish: Handske
mitten in German: Handschuh
mitten in Spanish: Guante
mitten in Esperanto: Ganto
mitten in French: Gant
mitten in Ido: Ganto
mitten in Italian: Guanto
mitten in Hebrew: כפפה
mitten in Hungarian: Kesztyű
mitten in Dutch: Handschoen
mitten in Cree: Ashtish
mitten in Japanese: 手袋
mitten in Norwegian: Hansker
mitten in Polish: Rękawiczki
mitten in Portuguese: Luva
mitten in Russian: Перчатки
mitten in Simple English: Glove
mitten in Serbian: Рукавица
mitten in Swedish: Handskar
mitten in Tajik: Дастпӯшак
mitten in Yiddish: הענטשוך
mitten in Chinese: 手套
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