be the death of

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be the death of (one)

To be a source of extreme worry, distress, aggravation, or other effects too intense for one to endure. You'll be the death of me! Please call if you're going to be home late, so I don't worry.
See also: death, of

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

cause someone's death.
Be the death of is generally used as an exaggerated or humorous way of describing the effects of laughter, embarrassment, boredom, or similar emotions.
1999 Chris Dolan Ascension Day If her mother ever found out that William Grant was in Glasgow, it'd be the death of her.
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.
(See English Translation.) What effect the death of Socrates produced on the mind of Plato, we cannot certainly determine; nor can we say how he would or must have written under the circumstances.
It was because you loved me well enough to give me one of those sweet means of death of which we were speaking; a death without agony, a death which allows me to fade away while pronouncing Valentine's name and pressing your hand."
During the perusal of this letter, which informed Valentine for the first time of the madness of her father and the death of her brother, she became pale, a heavy sigh escaped from her bosom, and tears, not the less painful because they were silent, ran down her cheeks; her happiness cost her very dear.
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.
Meanwhile, the leading causes of death of Filipinos were various diseases of the heart, cancer, and pneumonia.
They defined death depression as feelings of despair, loneliness, dread and a type of sadness that reflects with the death of a close person, the death of others and generally the concept of death [1].
A lessening of death anxiety could be accounted for by incorporating death and dying into the context of the life cycle and recognizing implications of the impact on loved ones when a death occurs outside of what is considered to be a normal life cycle (e.g., death of a child, death by homicide).
Laplanche writes that, as Freud puts it, in the unconscious, death will be the death of the other.
Ionesco draws a kind of distinction between physical death and death of the personality.
Because life is chemical in its deepest essence and random in its origins, they have shown that it need have no purpose beyond its own propagation; in studying the details of the history of life, they have found that the survival of life on this planet has always depended on, and always will depend on, the death of individual living things.
The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions By Sister Helen Prejean Random House.