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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’
brutality, savagery, savageness, inhumanity, barbarism, barbarousness, brutishness, bloodthirstiness, murderousness, viciousness, ferocity, ferociousness, fiercenessView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- 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.’
Middle English: from Old French crualte, based on Latin crudelitas, from crudelis (see cruel).
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