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not hurt a fly

Also, not hurt a flea. Not cause harm to anyone, be gentle and mild, as in Paul's the kindest man—he 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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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