Definition of be cruel to be kind in English:

be cruel to be kind

phrase

  • Act towards someone in a way which seems harsh but will ultimately be of benefit to them.

    ‘George did not like being firm with Lennie but he knew that he had to be cruel to be kind’
    • ‘The boardroom view is that firms have to be cruel to be kind.’
    • ‘It's a time-honoured cliché, but in this case it just happens to be true: sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.’
    • ‘It is being cruel to be kind as they would only end up killing themselves or someone else’.’
    • ‘I find a short sharp shock keeps them in line, you have to be cruel to be kind.’
    • ‘I don't want to hurt her, because she doesn't deserve to be hurt, but this is more of a case of cruel to be kind.’
    • ‘I'm just so glad he's home and I have to be cruel to be kind because I can't bear to go through that again.’
    • ‘It's true what they say, sometimes you do have to be cruel to be kind.’
    • ‘In the countryside, there are times when you must be cruel to be kind.’
    • ‘Much as he hated doing it, he had to be cruel to be kind.’
    • ‘I for one prefer to be cruel to be kind, and never give donations to child beggars as I think they should be home in bed or at school not out on the streets begging.’