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 in a sentence
a dictator known for his cruelty
The cruelty of children can be surprising.
They protested against cruelty to animals.
Origin and Etymology of cruelty
Middle English cruelte, from Anglo-French cruelté, from Latin crudelitat-, crudelitas, from crudelis
First Known Use: 13th century
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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