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.
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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.
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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.
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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