A glove (Middle English from Old English glof) is a type of garment which covers the hand. 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". Hand garments without separate finger openings or sheaths are called "mittens".
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 or vinyl disposable gloves are often worn by healthcare professionals as hygiene and contamination protection measures. Fingerless gloves are useful for cold environments 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.
A washing glove is a tool for washing the body (one's own, or of a child, a patient, a lover).
Gloves have been made of many materials including cloth, knitted or felted wool, leather, rubber, latex, and metal (as in chain mail).
Today gloves are made around the world. Most expensive women's 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.