cruelty

noun
cru·​el·​ty | \ ˈkrü(-ə)l-tē \
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

Halloween is the story of Allyson's induction into the long lineage of women who face the cruelty of the world and make it out the other side tougher and wiser. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Halloween Is More Than a Horror Movie—It's a Tribute to Mothers and Daughters," 20 Oct. 2018 Sean and Daniel have to cope with the quiet cruelties of being judged for the color of their skin and the assumptions the authorities automatically make about them. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Life Is Strange 2, episode 1 review: New setting, same heart," 28 Sep. 2018 Sierra is not the film’s only sinner; a number of the characters use transphobic and homophobic remarks as punchlines and the film does little in the way of addressing their cruelty. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "I Really Tried to Like “Sierra Burgess,” But Catfishing Isn’t Romantic — It’s Harmful," 10 Sep. 2018 Feeling the sting of insignificance—rare in this age of narcissism—while observing the migration of 1.5 million wildebeests. Digesting the necessary cruelty of the hyena kill. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Summers: The Ultimate Guide to Not Wasting a Single Vacation With Your Kids," 20 July 2018 But the result is a brand of justice that seems un-American to many, unrecognizable in its deliberate cruelty. Liz Goodwin, BostonGlobe.com, "Down on the border, a new trail of tears," 10 June 2018 Fargeat is taking familiar, misogynistic iconography and setting it to boil, bringing all its cruelty and noxiousness to the surface. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Revenge Is a Shocking and Subversive Piece of Horror," 9 May 2018 Although capitalism is brutally alive & well, the next generations will not tolerate its cruelty & greed. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Moviemaker Michael Moore wishes Karl Marx a happy 200th birthday," 5 May 2018 Vulnerability collides with cruelty in a number of these stories, which often feature Indian or Indian-American main characters and which touch on rape, child abuse, adultery, theft, abandonment and similar cheery subjects. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction Books: Tapped Into a Kind of Magic," 25 Oct. 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

25 Dec 2018

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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 \
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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