Definition of cruelty in English:

cruelty

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Cruel behaviour or attitudes:

    ‘he has treated her with extreme cruelty’
    ‘we can't stand cruelty to animals’
    [count noun] ‘the cruelties of forced assimilation and genocide’
    • ‘Is the response to the extreme cruelty of tyrants the defining moment of the human condition?’
    • ‘Officials acting on our behalf committed unspeakable cruelty on a man already wrongly imprisoned for 17 years.’
    • ‘But this temptation is dangerous because history contains too much cruelty at the hands of the pious.’
    • ‘I shall not treat either of you with undue cruelty, but neither do I have any intention of pardoning your deeds.’
    • ‘I hope the resulting media coverage will help to foster a greater awareness of the cruelty involved.’
    • ‘Why were children treated with such cruelty, both physical and emotional?’
    • ‘They emphasise, instead, the degree of cruelty inflicted by men on women.’
    • ‘If women resisted sexual advances, they risked physical cruelty and punishment.’
    • ‘Why did people behave as they did - whether with cruelty or kindness, cravenness or courage?’
    • ‘What matters most is that prohibitions against human cruelty be hard and binding.’
    • ‘There can be no neutrality between justice and cruelty, between the innocent and the guilty.’
    • ‘Mistakes I can forgive, but deliberate intent to harm or random acts of cruelty, I find repulsive.’
    • ‘I felt like a Roman emperor, looking down on my subject wondering whether to show mercy or cruelty.’
    • ‘The casual, unthinking cruelty of children is brilliantly evoked here.’
    • ‘Maybe it was because of casual human cruelty.’
    • ‘The fact that credible scientists found there was not excess suffering or cruelty involved was ignored.’
    • ‘The whole point of this storyline is that he has reduced her to a gibbering wreck through emotional and verbal cruelty without any physical violence.’
    • ‘The cruelty perpetrated on the family must cease immediately.’
    • ‘We suffered cruelty and abandonment even as we continued to teach the world about a loving God.’
    • ‘A prince may be ruthless when it is prudent, but wanton cruelty is foolish.’
    brutality, savagery, savageness, inhumanity, barbarism, barbarousness, brutishness, bloodthirstiness, murderousness, viciousness, ferocity, ferociousness, fierceness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law Behaviour which causes physical or mental harm to another, especially a spouse, whether intentionally or not:
      ‘she divorced my stepfather for persistent cruelty’
      • ‘He pleaded not guilty to cruelty and claimed he had entrusted the puppies to a man called Phil.’
      • ‘Charges of dangerous driving and child cruelty were withdrawn by the prosecution.’
      • ‘Her evidence was led in support of three so called specimen counts of rape, six of indecent assault and one of cruelty.’
      • ‘The jury was told that he had been convicted of grievous bodily harm and child cruelty against a girl in Essex in April 1998.’
      • ‘In 1948, Wyman sued for divorce, charging extreme mental cruelty.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French crualte, based on Latin crudelitas, from crudelis (see cruel).

Pronunciation:

cruelty

/ˈkrʊəlti/