Thesaurus

cruel

adjective

Synonyms and Antonyms of cruel

  1. 1 having or showing the desire to inflict severe pain and suffering on others a cruel dictator who tortured anyone who dared to speak out against him cruel and unusual punishments are forbidden by the U.S. Constitution Synonyms of cruel atrocious, barbaric, barbarous, brutal, brute, butcherly, fiendish, heartless, inhuman, inhumane, sadistic, savage, truculent, vicious, wanton Words Related to cruel hard-hearted, ironhearted, merciless, pitiless, ruthless, stonyhearted, unfeeling; fell, ferocious, grim; bloodthirsty, cutthroat, murderous, sanguinary, sanguine; catty, despiteful, hateful, malevolent, malicious, malign, malignant, mean, nasty, spiteful, vindictive; draconian, draconic, hardhanded, harsh, heavy-handed, oppressive Phrases red in tooth and claw Near Antonyms of cruel tender, warm, warmhearted; charitable, clement, lenient, merciful, pitying; pacific, peaceable, peaceful Antonyms of cruel benign, benignant, compassionate, good-hearted, humane, kind, kindhearted, sympathetic, tenderhearted

  2. 2 difficult to endure the cruel climate of the Arctic Synonyms of cruel bitter, brutal, burdensome, harsh, excruciating, grievous, grim, hard, hardhanded, heavy, inhuman, murderous, onerous, oppressive, rough, rugged, searing, severe, stiff, tough, tryingWords Related to cruel austere, bleak, comfortless, discomforting, forbidding, inhospitable, spartan, uncomfortable; biting, inclement, intemperate, wild; rigorous, strict, stringent; agonizing, heartbreaking, heartrending, painful, wretched; crushing, grinding, overwhelming, wearing; insufferable, insupportable, intolerable, unbearable, unendurable; harrowing, tortuous; bad, disagreeable, hostile, unfriendly, unpleasantNear Antonyms of cruel comfortable, cozy, luxurious, snug; agreeable, friendly, genial, hospitable, pleasant; peaceful, relaxing, reposeful, restful; bearable, endurable, painless, tolerable; balmy, calm, clement, gentle, mild, moderate, temperateAntonyms of cruel easy, light, soft

  3. 3 hard to accept or bear especially emotionally the cruel situation of being orphaned at an early age Synonyms of cruel afflicting, agonizing, bitter, excruciating, galling, grievous, harrowing, harsh, heartrending, hurtful, painful, tormenting, torturousWords Related to cruel insufferable, insupportable, intolerable, unacceptable, unbearable, unendurable, unsupportable; appalling, awful, bad, dire, dreadful, ghastly, horrible, miserable, nasty, rotten, severe, terrible, vile, wretched; acute, extreme, intense, piercingNear Antonyms of cruel bearable, endurable, supportable, sustainable, tolerable; livable (also liveable), sufferable, survivable; acceptable, allowable, reasonableAntonyms of cruel gratifying, pleasing, sweet

  4. 4 having or showing a desire to cause someone pain or suffering for the sheer enjoyment of it the bully was fond of making cruel little jabs at his victim's sore points Synonyms of cruel bad [slang], bitchy, catty, hateful, despiteful, malevolent, malicious, malign, malignant, mean, nasty, spiteful, vicious, virulentWords Related to cruel devious, scoundrelly, scurvy, snakelike; acrimonious, bitter, envious, jaundiced, jealous, rancorous, resentful, vindictive, vitriolic; contemptuous, deprecating, derogatory, disdainful, disparaging, mean-spirited, obnoxious, opprobrious, scornful, snide, snotty, unkind, unkindly, unloving; baleful, baneful, evil; harsh, hostile, inimical; acrid, caustic, poisonous, scathing, venomousNear Antonyms of cruel compassionate, good, good-hearted, kind, kindhearted, kindly, sympathetic, warm, warmhearted; affable, agreeable, amiable, cordial, friendly, genial, gracious, nice, pleasant; affectionate, amorous, sweet, tender, tenderhearted; humane; altruistic, high-minded, humanitarian, magnanimous, noble, philanthropic (also philanthropical)Antonyms of cruel benevolent, benign, benignant, loving, unmalicious

Synonym Discussion of cruel

fierce, ferocious, barbarous, savage, cruel mean showing fury or malignity in looks or actions. fierce applies to humans and animals that inspire terror because of their wild and menacing aspect or fury in attack.
    • fierce warriors
ferocious implies extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality.
    • a ferocious dog
barbarous implies a ferocity or mercilessness regarded as unworthy of civilized people.
    • barbarous treatment of prisoners
savage implies the absence of inhibitions restraining civilized people filled with rage, lust, or other violent passion.
    • a savage criminal
cruel implies indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it.
    • the cruel jokes of schoolboys


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to praise usually to excess

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