adjective cru·el \ˈkrü(-ə)l\

—used to describe people who hurt others and do not feel sorry about it

: causing or helping to cause suffering : terrible and unfair

cru·el·er or cru·el·lercru·el·est or cru·el·lest

Full Definition of CRUEL

:  disposed to inflict pain or suffering :  devoid of humane feelings <a cruel tyrant>
a :  causing or conducive to injury, grief, or pain <a cruel joke>
b :  unrelieved by leniency <cruel punishment>
cru·el·ly \ˈkrü-(ə-)lē\ adverb
cru·el·ness noun

Examples of CRUEL

  1. a cruel twist of fate
  2. Hunger is a cruel fact of nature.

Origin of CRUEL

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin crudelis, from crudus
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of CRUEL

fierce, ferocious, barbarous, savage, cruel mean showing fury or malignity in looks or actions. fierce applies to humans and animals that inspire terror because of their wild and menacing aspect or fury in attack <fierce warriors>. ferocious implies extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality <a ferocious dog>. barbarous implies a ferocity or mercilessness regarded as unworthy of civilized people <barbarous treatment of prisoners>. savage implies the absence of inhibitions restraining civilized people filled with rage, lust, or other violent passion <a savage criminal>. cruel implies indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it <the cruel jokes of schoolboys>.

Rhymes with CRUEL

CRUEL Defined for Kids


adjective cru·el \ˈkrü-əl\
cru·el·er or cru·el·lercru·el·est or cru·el·lest

Definition of CRUEL for Kids

:  wanting to cause others to suffer <a cruel ruler>
:  causing or helping to cause suffering <cruel punishment> <a cruel joke>
cru·el·ly adverb


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