Idioms for kill

    kill with kindness, to overdo in one's efforts to be kind: The aunts would kill their nephews and nieces with kindness.

Origin of kill

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English cullen, killen “to strike, beat, kill,” Old English cyllan (unattested); cognate with dialectal German küllen (Westphalian). Cf. quell


kill·a·ble, adjectiveself-killed, adjectiveun·killed, adjective


kill kilnexecute kill murder (see synonym study at the current entry)

synonym study for kill

1. Kill, execute, murder all mean to deprive of life. Kill is the general word, with no implication of the manner of killing, the agent or cause, or the nature of what is killed (whether human being, animal, or plant): to kill a person. Execute is used with reference to the putting to death of one in accordance with a legal sentence, no matter what the means are: to execute a criminal. Murder is used of killing a human being unlawfully: He murdered him for his money. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for kill off (1 of 2)

/ (kɪl) /

verb (mainly tr)


Word Origin for kill

C13 cullen; perhaps related to Old English cwellan to kill; compare German (Westphalian dialect) küllen; see quell

British Dictionary definitions for kill off (2 of 2)

/ (kɪl) /


US a channel, stream, or river (chiefly as part of place names)

Word Origin for kill

C17: from Middle Dutch kille; compare Old Norse kīll small bay, creek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with kill off (1 of 2)

kill off


Render extinct, eliminate completely, as in The plague killed off entire villages and towns. [c. 1600]


Represent as dead, as in This mystery writer kills off a new victim in almost every chapter. [Mid-1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with kill off (2 of 2)


In addition to the idioms beginning with kill

  • kill off
  • kill or cure
  • kill the fatted calf
  • kill the goose that lays the golden eggs
  • kill time
  • kill two birds with one stone
  • kill with kindness

also see:

  • curiosity killed the cat
  • dressed to kill
  • fit to kill
  • in at the death (kill)
  • make a killing
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.