Kill with kindness

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Kill with kindness is an idiom that dates back hundreds of years. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom kill with kindness, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Kill with kindness is an idiom that means to be extremely helpful, solicitous, or generous to someone with the intention of causing that person discomfort or harm. For instance, one may feed someone who is trying to lose weight fattening, delicious food. While on the surface, it seems kind to give that person pleasure; in reality, it is not a kindness because it is contributing to that person’s weight problem. Related phrases are kills with kindness, killed with kindness, killing with kindness. The expression kill with kindness is an old one; it is found in Shakespeare’s play, The Taming of the Shrew: “This is a way to kill a wife with kindness, and thus I’ll curb her mad and headstrong humor.” However, the term seems to have originated with an obscure English proverb popular in the 1500s that is no longer in use: Kill with kindness as fond apes do their young. The idea is that a mother ape is so strong, she unwittingly caresses her baby so fiercely that she crushes it.


Always one to kill with kindness, Keke finished off her tweet by sending ‘love’ to Marcus and the other 10 chefs he chose to bring the Met Gala’s menu to life. (Daily Mail)

Outside the show, however, these two prefer to kill with kindness as they face off in Teen Vogue‘s Compliment Battle, where they gaze into each other’s eyes while bonding over your compliments. (Teen Vogue)

Experts in one-upmanship, they kill with kindness (and large amounts of salty and fatty food) and nothing is ever quite good enough. (Jewish Chronicle)