Simple Definition of cruelty
: a desire to cause others to suffer : the quality or state of being cruel
: actions that cause suffering
: an act or occurrence that causes suffering
Full Definition of cruelty
1 : the quality or state of being cruel
2 a : a cruel action b : inhuman treatment
3 : marital conduct held (as in a divorce action) to endanger life or health or to cause mental suffering or fear
Examples of cruelty
a dictator known for his cruelty
The cruelty of children can be surprising.
They protested against cruelty to animals.
Origin of cruelty
Middle English cruelte, from Anglo-French cruelté, from Latin crudelitat-, crudelitas, from crudelis
First Known Use: 13th century
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up cruelty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).