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ache for

1. To feel a strong desire for someone or something. She ached for the companionship of her husband when he was deployed overseas.
2. To feel sadness and/or empathy for someone. I ache for those little children who just lost their parents in a car accident.

hurt for

1. To feel a strong desire for someone or something. She hurt for the companionship of her husband when he was deployed overseas.
2. To feel sadness and/or empathy for someone. I hurt for those little children who just lost their parents in a car accident.
See also: hurt

ache for someone or something

 and hurt for someone or something
Fig. to desire someone or something very much. (So much that it "hurts.") Jim ached for the sight of Mary, whom he loved deeply.

cry before one is hurt

Fig. to cry or complain needlessly, before one is injured. Bill always cries before he's hurt. There is no point in crying before one is hurt.
See also: before, cry, hurt, one

Don't cry before you are hurt.

Prov. Do not be upset about a bad thing that might happen; only be upset when something bad really does happen. Fred: What am I going to do? There's a possibility that my job will be eliminated! Jane: Don't cry before you are hurt. They haven't eliminated you yet.
See also: before, cry, hurt

hurt someone's feelings

to cause someone emotional pain. It hurts my feelings when you talk that way. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.
See also: feeling, hurt

(It) doesn't hurt to ask. and (It) never hurts to ask.

a phrase said when one asks a question, even when the answer is known to be no. John: Can I take some of these papers home with me? Jane: No, you can't. You know that. John: Well, it doesn't hurt to ask. Sue: Can I have two of these? Sally: Certainly not! Sue: Well, it never hurts to ask. Sally: Well, it just may!
See also: and, ask, hurt, never

little (hard) work never hurt anyone

 and little (hard) work never killed anyone
Prov. One should expect to do hard or difficult work and not avoid doing it. Go help your father with the yard work. A little hard work never hurt anyone. Go ahead. Bring me some more bricks. A little work never killed anyone.
See also: anyone, hurt, little, never, work

not hurt a flea

Fig. not to harm anything or anyone, even a tiny insect. (Also with other forms of negation.) Ted would not even hurt a flea. He could not have struck Bill. Ted would never hurt a flea, and he would not hit anyone as you claim.
See also: flea, hurt, not

sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me

Prov. You do not hurt me by calling me names. (A reply to someone who has called you names. Primarily used by children; sounds childish when used by adults.) Brother: You're stupid and mean, and everybody hates you! Sister: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
See also: and, break, but, hurt, may, never, stick, stone, will, word

what one doesn't know won't hurt one

Cliché Unknown facts cannot worry or upset a person. Don't tell me that I have made a mistake. What I don't know won't hurt me. Don't tell him the truth about his missing dog. What he doesn't know won't hurt him.
See also: hurt, know, one, what

What you don't know won't hurt you.

 and What you don't know can't hurt you.
Prov. If you do not know about a problem or a misdeed, you will not be able to make yourself unhappy by worrying about it. (Often used to justify not telling someone about a problem or misdeed.) Ellen: What a beautiful diamond necklace! Thank you! But how on earth did you get the money to pay for it? Fred: What you don't know won't hurt you.
See also: hurt, know, what

ache for somebody/something

to feel desire or regret about someone or something I ache for home, the smell of bread baking, rain hitting the porch roof - even the smell of the hen house. We ache for the victims of war who have lost family, friends, and their homes.

not hurt a fly

not injure or upset anyone or anything She said the arrest was a mistake, that her husband wouldn't hurt a fly.
Usage notes: also used in the forms can't hurt a fly, couldn't hurt a fly, and would never hurt a fly: He was so gentle he would never hurt a fly.
See also: fly, hurt, not

it doesn't hurt to do something

also it doesn't hurt to have something
it is an advantage to do or have something It doesn't hurt to take a look at what you've done and see if it could be improved. It doesn't hurt to have a group of talented, educated people living in your community.
Usage notes: also used in the forms it couldn't hurt, it wouldn't hurt, or it can't hurt, or in the form of a question, would it hurt, all with the meaning that doing or having something would be an advantage
See also: hurt

wouldn't harm/hurt a fly

if you say that someone wouldn't hurt a fly, you mean that they are a gentle person and that they would not do anything to injure or upset anyone Damian just isn't the violent type. He wouldn't hurt a fly.
See fly the flag, let fly, fly the nest
See also: fly, harm

hit somebody where it hurts (most)

to do something which will upset someone as much as possible She hit him where it hurt most - in his bank account. If you want to hit her where it really hurts, tell her she's putting on weight again.
See also: hit, hurt

What you don't know won't hurt you.

something that you say which means that if you do not know about a fact or a problem, you do not worry about it 'Tell me how much you spent on the car, then.' 'No, what you don't know won't hurt you.'
See also: hurt, know, what

not hurt a fly

Also, not hurt a flea. Not cause harm to anyone, be gentle and mild, as in Paul's the kindest man-he wouldn't hurt a flea, or Bert has a temper but it's all talk; he wouldn't hurt a fly. Both fly and flea are used in the sense of "a small insignificant animal." [Early 1800s]
See also: fly, hurt, not


1. mod. very ugly; damaged and ugly. (Streets. Similar to hurting.) That poor girl is really bad hurt.
2. mod. drug intoxicated. (Streets.) Gert was really hurt and nodding and drooling.

hurt for someone/something

in. to long after someone or something; to need someone or something. I sure am hurting for a nice big steak.
See also: hurt


1. mod. very ugly; in pain from ugliness. (Similar to hurt.) That dog of yours is something to behold. It’s really hurting.
2. mod. seriously in need of something, such as a dose of drugs. (Drugs.) Gert is hurting. She needs something soon.
See also: hurt
References in classic literature ?
Indeed (as I learned afterwards) there were so many of them hurt or dead, and the rest in so ill a temper, that Mr.
When I go after anything I get it, an' if anything gets in between it gets hurt.
An' you'd better tell the rummy to beat it unless you want to see'm get his face hurt.
Saxon, hurt as a prideful woman can be hurt by cavalier treatment, was tempted to cry out the name and prowess of her new-found protector.
Any rummy that comes between a fellow an' his girl ought to get hurt.
If you don't go with me to-morrow night somebody'll get hurt.
This obliged them to fall upon them with the stocks of their muskets; and first they made sure of the runaway savage, that had been the cause of all the mischief, and of another that was hurt in the knee, and put them out of their pain; then the man that was not hurt at all came and kneeled down to them, with his two hands held up, and made piteous moans to them, by gestures and signs, for his life, but could not say one word to them that they could understand.
The answer came in a time of reflection, "If you are still bitter and hurt it is because you blame others and don't accept any responsibility yourself.
They use their empathy to notice other children's reactions to their aggression, and "stop" being aggressive when others let them know they have crossed the line and have hurt them (Thompson 2001).
It's hard to imagine better evidence that the tough criticism of the war we're now seeing doesn't hurt morale.
Though there has been a months'-long wave of robberies in the area and violence is rampant, "Law enforcement officials emphasize that the best way to reduce the risk of being hurt is to cooperate with the robbers.
Groomsmen were Jim Hurt and Joel Hurt, brothers of the bride; David Ware; Dylan Meeks; and Matt Surrell.
Hurt comes to the school with leader ship experience gained at an institution that rose from unaccredited to fully approved status.
William Hurt is a travel writer who doesn't have the energy to get out of bed in Lawrence Kasdan's film version of Anne Tyler's novel.