be the death of

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be the death of

Cause the death of something or someone, as in This comedian is so funny, he'll be the death of me. Although this phrase can be used literally, meaning "to kill someone or something," it has also been used hyperbolically (as in the example) since the late 1500s. Shakespeare used it in 1 Henry IV (2:1): "Since the price of oats rose, it was the death of him."
See also: death, of

be the death of

To distress or irritate to an intolerable degree.
See also: death, of
References in classic literature ?
Now, there is a minute and almost exact similarity in the appearances connected with the death that occurred yesterday and those recorded of the death of Clifford's uncle thirty years ago.
The statements of the Memorabilia respecting the trial and death of Socrates agree generally with Plato; but they have lost the flavour of Socratic irony in the narrative of Xenophon.
The dead face that was fair grows fairer each spring, sweet memories grow more sweet, what was silver is now gold, and as years go by, the very death of love becomes its immortality.
We took with us an old Moor, so enfeebled with age that they were forced to carry him: he had seen, as I have said, the sufferings and death of Don Christopher de Gama; and a Christian, who had often heard all those passages related to his father, and knew the place where the uncle and nephew of Mahomet were buried, and where they interred one quarter of the Portuguese martyr.
The news of the death of Parfen Denisitch made a painful impression on him.
But what will be reported of the sudden death of the poor old servant?
The Lioness came up, and bitterly lamented the death of her whelp.
I know not by what chain of thought the idea presented itself, but it instantly darted into my mind that the murderer had come to mock at my misery and taunt me with the death of Clerval, as a new incitement for me to comply with his hellish desires.
there they stand, and by them stand those whom they have doomed--the innocent whom, with their wives and children, they have doomed to the death of the dog.
Incapable of mastering his emotion, he arose, and tearing himself violently from the chamber where he had just found dead him to whom he came to report the news of the death of Porthos, he uttered sobs so heart-rending that the servants, who seemed only to wait for an explosion of grief, answered to it by their lugubrious clamors, and the dogs of the late comte by their lamentable howlings.
Montpensier from the charge of murder which hung over her in connection with the death of her step-daughter, Mlle.
seemed already to have forgotten the ghost and the death of Joseph Buquet.
The chief of police, who was present to see that everything was in order, put several questions to the purveyor, who told him the whole story of the death of the hunchback, and how he had carried the body to the place where it had been found by the Christian merchant.
She has shown by clear and satisfactory arguments that little or no fault is to be found with her for the death of Chrysostom, and also how far she is from yielding to the wishes of any of her lovers, for which reason, instead of being followed and persecuted, she should in justice be honoured and esteemed by all the good people of the world, for she shows that she is the only woman in it that holds to such a virtuous resolution.
With the death of the babe his fit of demoniacal rage passed as suddenly as it had seized him.