cruelty

noun
cru·​el·​ty | \ ˈkrü(-ə)l-tē How to pronounce cruelty (audio) \
plural cruelties

Definition of cruelty

1 : the quality or state of being cruel
2a : 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The cruelty for a clearly flustered Moore continued when Martinez hit a sharp ground ball to third. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Whew! Mariners hang on to beat Red Sox despite three ninth-inning errors," 30 Mar. 2019 Unlike many other antislavery advocates, Lincoln avoided emphasizing controversial topics, like the suffering of slaves, the cruelty of slaveholders and the need for blacks to be awarded citizenship rights. David S. Reynolds, WSJ, "‘Becoming Lincoln’ Review: The Center That Held," 15 Feb. 2019 That mirth, combined with the utter ridiculousness of the plot, makes Barry an effective, if violent, escape from the cruelty of the real world. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "9 Emmy-Nominated Shows You Can Binge to Escape Reality," 13 July 2018 The perils that befall them along the way are at times almost too much to bear, but the cruelty of this journey is checked at every step by the bracing force of Haigh’s compassion. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Critic's Choice: Andrew Haigh's 'Lean on Pete' is a piercingly sad coming-of-age tale," 12 July 2018 By the time Straley arrived in March of 1963, the cruelty had become routinized, and took the form of a long leather barber shop-style strap that was made partly of sheet metal. Carol Marbin Miller, miamiherald, "A victim of vile abuse at Florida reform school, he spent his life fighting for justice," 10 July 2018 The investigation into the cruelty of women is the raw, beating heart of Sharp Objects. refinery29.com, "Sharp Objects Review: It’s Exactly What You Need During The Big Little Lies Drought," 5 July 2018 Annelise Marie Ambert, 21, was charged with cruelty or neglect of a child, North Smithfield police said in a statement. Jackson Cote, BostonGlobe.com, "Milford woman is arrested after leaving child locked in car," 5 July 2018 Gadi Gvaryahu shakes his head, astonished by the cruelty of those words. Dina Kraft, The Christian Science Monitor, "Into dark cycle of Mideast revenge, this group tries to bring light," 28 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of cruelty

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cruelty

Middle English cruelte, from Anglo-French cruelté, from Latin crudelitat-, crudelitas, from crudelis

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Statistics for cruelty

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for cruelty

The first known use of cruelty was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for cruelty

cruelty

noun

English Language Learners 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

cruelty

noun
cru·​el·​ty | \ ˈkrü-əl-tē How to pronounce cruelty (audio) \
plural cruelties

Kids Definition of cruelty

1 : the quality or state of causing or wanting to cause suffering a man of cruelty
2 : treatment that causes suffering

cruelty

noun
cru·​el·​ty
plural cruelties

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

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

Note: Cruelty is a ground for divorce.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cruelty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cruelty

Spanish Central: Translation of cruelty

Nglish: Translation of cruelty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cruelty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cruelty

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