What is the word that describes an act that was meant to be an act of kindness/helpful, but ironically has not been helpful at all.

I know the word, but it's totally gone out of my head, and I cannot for the life of me remember it.

A few examples:

  • Hanging out the washing for someone trying to do them a favour, but hanging it incorrectly so it's not going to dry that well.

  • Doing the dishes for Mum after she's cooked you tea, but you put something non dish washer safe in the dish washer.

  • Mowing the lawns for your Grandma, but the mower was too short and has now killed the grass.

  • You told your wife you'd do the washing for her, which she was so thankful for, but you put the towels in with the clothes, and she wasn't too happy about that.

I KNOW there is a word, but I just am absolutely stumped. Any help?!

  • 1
    "Well-intentioned" is one possibility.
    – JEL
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 3:59
  • Hmmm I see where you're coming from and it is along those lines, but that wasn't the word it was, thank you though
    – George
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 4:09
  • How about "well-meaning"?
    – JEL
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 4:10
  • Hmm also along the same lines, but not the word I was after, I think it was a single word.
    – George
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 4:22
  • 1
    "The best of intentions..."
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


I also have the feeling that there is a single word that perfectly fits this meaning. I don't think this is it but it might suit you: maybe...backfired?

I was trying to do something nice for my Mom but the whole thing backfired.

  • from miriam webster: Boomerang- an act or utterance that backfires on its originator
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 6:32
  • This is close, but not the answer, I don't know how this has been voted as the answer
    – George
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 20:32

This might be stronger than you intended:

"Kill them with kindness implies that by being kind, you purposely or inadvertently annoy, exact revenge, irritate or encourage a particular behavior in a person. People often use this method of conflict resolution when they feel frustrated by other attempts to resolve an issue, feel powerless in a situation, don't know how to express difficult emotions or they want to avoid pressuring overtly."

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8433153_ways-kill-someone-kindness.html

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