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 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

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


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


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.
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