Definition of cruel
1 : disposed to inflict pain or suffering : devoid of humane feelings a cruel tyrant has a cruel heart
2a : causing or conducive to injury, grief, or pain a cruel joke a cruel twist of fateb : unrelieved by leniency cruel punishment
cruellyplay \ˈkrü-(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples of cruel in a Sentence
a cruel twist of fate
Hunger is a cruel fact of nature.
Recent Examples of cruel from the Web
Mackenzie says that Ryan’s doing great and then Dr. Drew forces us to watch a clip show of Ryan nodding off, even though that seems inordinately cruel.
The airline now realizes that such a reduction in size would be cruel, heartless, verging on the sadistic.
These radicals are mean in two senses of that word: both stingy and cruel.
The world may be stunningly, absurdly cruel to her characters, but Roy is always tender with them.
Technology is a cruel industry, and Uber plays the game perhaps more than any company.
Recently, attorneys for two former Jackson County inmates filed separate lawsuits alleging that their clients’ rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment were violated due to insanitary conditions at the jail.
Michele Lueking-Sunman, an attorney with N.C. Prisoner Legal Services who helped represent the inmates in the Central Prison case, said that what happened to them amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.
Tizon’s parents probably justified their cruel bait-and-switch by telling themselves that providing Pulido with room and board in a foreign country was compensation enough, especially given their own financial situation.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cruel'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Synonym Discussion of cruel
CRUEL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cruel for English Language Learners
—used to describe people who hurt others and do not feel sorry about it
: causing or helping to cause suffering : terrible and unfair
CRUEL Defined for Kids
Definition of cruel for Students
1 : wanting to cause others to suffer a cruel ruler
2 : causing or helping to cause suffering cruel punishment a cruel joke
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up cruel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).