not hurt a fly

(redirected from couldn't hurt a fly)

not hurt a fly

To be particularly gentle, shy, diffident, or timid by nature. My brother is a very sweet, warm-hearted man who wouldn't hurt a fly. How can you suspect him of committing this crime?
See also: fly, hurt, not

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

wouldn't hurt a fly

or

wouldn't harm a fly

If someone wouldn't hurt a fly or wouldn't harm a fly, they are very kind and gentle. She was such a lovely girl, who wouldn't have hurt a fly. He is, he insists, a pacifist, who would not harm a fly.
See also: fly, hurt

wouldn't hurt (or harm) a fly

used to emphasize how inoffensive and harmless a person or animal is.
See also: fly, hurt
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