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kill with kindness

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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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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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