kill (one) 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.
See also: kill, kindness

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.
See also: kill, kindness

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.
See also: kill, kindness

kill someone with kindness

If you kill someone with kindness, you treat them too kindly when this is not what they need or want. `He is killing me with kindness,' Sallie says. `He's just too attentive.'
See also: kill, kindness, someone

kill someone with (or by) kindness

spoil someone by overindulging them.
This expression dates back to the mid 16th century; it famously appears in the title of Thomas Heywood's play A Woman Killed with Kindness ( 1607 ).
See also: kill, kindness, someone

ˌkill somebody with ˈkindness

harm somebody by being too kind to them, usually without realizing what you are doing: The patient needs lots of exercise. Don’t let him stay in bed — you’ll kill him with kindness. OPPOSITE: be cruel to be kind
See also: kill, kindness, somebody
References in periodicals archive ?
Public and Private Performance of Guilt in Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness.
My breasts sear'd': The Self-Starved Female Body and A Woman Killed with Kindness.
Heywood as Moralist in A Woman Killed with Kindness.
Heywood's Gunaikeion and Woman-kind is A Woman Killed with Kindness.
Grief, Theater, and Society in Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness.
A Labyrinth of Sin': Marriage and Moral Capacity in Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness.
Framing with Kindness: The Transgressive Theatre of A Woman Killed with Kindness.
Bromley, "Domestic Conduct in A Woman Killed with Kindness, SEL 26 (1986): 259-76.
Rebecca Ann Bach, "The Homosocial Imaginary of A Woman Killed with Kindness," Textual Practice 12, no.
Quotations from Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness refer
Anne's choice of death and the form that it takes in A Woman Killed with Kindness challenges a social order in which food has been both a method of control and a site of vulnerability.
2) Thomas Heywood, A Woman Killed with Kindness, R.
8) Brian Scobie, 'Introduction', A Woman Killed with Kindness (London, 1985), xxii--xxvii.
Lena Cowen Orlin, Private Matters and Public Culture in Post-Reformation England (Ithaca, NY, 1993), 137--51, similarly argues that A Woman Killed with Kindness presents a new domestic ethic of responsibility for keeping, protecting and governing the persons and material possessions of the household sphere accompanied by the anxiety of uncertain ownership and possession, including the possession of one's wife.