cruelty

play
noun cru·el·ty \ ˈkrü(-ə)l-tē \

Definition of cruelty

plural cruelties
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

  1. a dictator known for his cruelty

  2. The cruelty of children can be surprising.

  3. They protested against cruelty to animals.

Recent Examples of cruelty from the Web

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


CRUELTY Defined for English Language Learners

cruelty

play
noun

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

cruelty

play
noun cru·el·ty \ ˈkrü-əl-tē \

Definition of cruelty for Students

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

Law Dictionary

cruelty

noun cru·el·ty

legal Definition of cruelty

plural cruelties
1 a :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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