Definition of cruelty
1 : the quality or state of being cruel
2a : a cruel actionb : 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 in a Sentence
a dictator known for his cruelty
The cruelty of children can be surprising.
They protested against cruelty to animals.
Recent Examples of cruelty from the Web
A former employee of the now defunct Mobile Zoo was arrested on 13 counts of animal cruelty charges on Wednesday (July 5) morning.
KJ said he was bombarded with social media attacks after A Dog's Purpose came under fire over a video of a dog allegedly being pushed into water, which an American Human investigation found was edited and did not indicate any animal cruelty.
No cruelty-free-tofu-nibbling, prissy-European-taste-having, sorry-excuse-for-a-man man he.
Two lives severed by the banal cruelty of drunk driving.
Its fall appears to have persuaded many ordinary Syrians that the regime, for all its appalling cruelty and corruption, is their best shot at something close to normality.
The Confederate response to this challenge was to visit every possible atrocity and cruelty upon black soldiers whenever possible, from enslavement to execution.
Lee’s cruelty as a slavemaster was not confined to physical punishment.
Also pleading not guilty on Friday was the man's codefendant, his sister, who is accused of intimidating and showing cruelty toward the same child.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cruelty'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of cruelty
Middle English cruelte, from Anglo-French cruelté, from Latin crudelitat-, crudelitas, from crudelis
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
CRUELTY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cruelty for English Language Learners
: 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
CRUELTY Defined for Kids
Definition of cruelty for Students
1 : the quality or state of causing or wanting to cause suffering a man of cruelty
2 : treatment that causes suffering
Legal Definition of cruelty
1a : an intentional or criminally negligent act that causes pain and suffering cruelty to animals cruelty to children b : mistreatment or neglect that causes pain and suffering — compare abuse Editor's note: Cruelty is an aggravating circumstance to a crime (as murder).
2 : a spouse's conduct that endangers life or health or causes mental suffering or fear —called also cruel and inhuman treatment
Additional Notes on cruelty
Cruelty is a ground for divorce.
Seen and Heard
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