Wouldn’t Hurt A Fly

Also:

Wouldn’t harm a fly
Can’t hurt a fly
Couldn’t hurt a fly
Would never hurt a fly
wouldn’t hurt a flea

Meaning of Idiom ‘(someone) wouldn’t hurt a fly’

When it is said that someone wouldn’t hurt a fly, it means that they are very gentle and harmless and that they would never hurt anyone or upset them. 1Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,3Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.


Want to see more videos from Idioms.Online? Subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Examples of Use

“Victor looks tough but he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“Don’t worry about the boss. He seems mean but he can’t hurt a fly.”

“Everybody is afraid of my dog because he is a pit bull but he’s so gentle he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Wouldn't hurt a fly idiom meaning

Origin

Used since the 1800’s, this idiom uses fly or flea to represent small insignificant animals that most people would think nothing of harming. So, a person who would not even harm such an insect is extremely mild and harmless, indeed. 5Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

More Idioms Starting with W

More Hurt Idioms

More Fly Idioms

More Insect Related Idioms

More Would/Wouldn’t Idioms

This page contains one or more affiliate links. See full affiliate disclosure.

 

Sources   [ + ]

1. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
2. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
3. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
4, 5. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.