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Kill Them With Kindness

Painted hands forming heart. Kill them with kindness

Kill Them With Kindness Definition

Kill them with kindness. To treat someone especially kind to the point of discomfort or awkwardness. Especially as a response to their own rude or angry behavior.


To kill is very extreme. To kill them with kindness is to show them so much kindness it could figuratively kill them.

Kill Them With Kindness Examples

  • There’s old man Jones buying his cigars, he’s always complaining about something. Maybe if I kill him with kindness he’ll give up being so negative, at least to me.
  • Here at Starlight Hotels we kill them with kindness. We show every customer that we eat and breath hospitality here!


I grew up in Minnesota and everyone is so nice there. It is like Fargo. Everyone’s so chipper and you make friends just grocery shopping. We kill each other with kindness.

Sean William Scott

There are very sophisticated, very time-consuming dishes to prepare; always from scratch, and always in excess of what you could possibly need. You tend to kill your guests with kindness around here.

Anthony Bourdain

Kill Them With Kindness Origin

Literary Origin

This is a way to kill a wife with kindness,
And thus I’ll curb her mad and headstrong humour.
He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
Now let him speak. ‘Tis charity to show.

William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, 1594

The first recorded use of this idiom as we use it today appears to be from the Comedic play The Taming of the Shrew by the one and only William Shakespeare!

The plot of the play follows the fortune seeker Petruchio as he marries and attempts to ‘tame’ the headstrong Katherina. The quote provided is contained in a passage where Petruchio describes depriving his wife of sleep and food to kill her with kindness and make her less disobedient. In the modern day this play has become somewhat controversial for its perceived misogyny.

Spiritual Origin

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,saith the Lord.”

20 Therefore: “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink. For in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

King James Bible 21st Century Version, Romans 12:19-21

The earliest evidence in writing containing the essence of this idiom comes from the Bible. The passages express that one should overcome their enemy with nothing but generosity and humility.

The earliest English Bible was the Tyndale Bible created by William Tyndale around the year 1536. The earliest complete Bible known to exist is the Leningrad Codex written around CE 1008.