kill with kindness
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kill (one) with kindness
To harm, inconvenience, or bother one by treating them with excessive favor or kindness. The phrase originated as the expression "kill with kindness as fond apes do their young," referring to the notion that such animals sometimes crushed their offspring by hugging them too hard. I love talking to Grandma, but she calls me twice a day to see how I'm doing—right now she's killing me with kindness.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
kill someone with kindness
Fig. to be enormously kind to someone. You are just killing me with kindness. Why? Don't kill them with kindness.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
kill with kindness
Overwhelm or harm someone with mistaken or excessive benevolence. For example, Aunt Mary constantly sends Jane chocolates and cake and other goodies, even though she's been told Jane's on a diet-nothing like killing with kindness . This expression originated as kill with kindness as fond apes do their young (presumably crushing them to death in a hug) and was a proverb by the mid-1500s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
kill with kindness, to
To overwhelm with benevolence. The original saying was “to kill with kindness as fond apes do their young,” conjuring up the image of a large simian crushing its baby to death with too vigorous a hug. It appeared as a proverb in the mid-sixteenth century and was quoted in numerous sources thereafter. A Woman Kilde with Kindnesse is the title of one of Thomas Heywood’s best-known plays (1607). It was surely a cliché by the time Byron wrote (Letters and Journals, 1815), “Don’t let them kill you with claret and kindness.”
See also: kill
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer