not hurt a fly

Idioms & Phrases

not hurt a fly

Also, not hurt a flea. Not cause harm to anyone, be gentle and mild, as in Paul's the kindest manhe wouldn't hurt a flea, or Bert has a temper but it's all talk; he wouldn't hurt a fly. Both fly and flea are used in the sense of "a small insignificant animal." [Early 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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