One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘the prisoner was a hard, cruel man’
brutal, savage, inhuman, barbaric, barbarous, brutish, bloodthirsty, murderous, homicidal, cut-throat, vicious, ferocious, fierce
wicked, evil, fiendish, devilish, diabolical, heinous, abominable, monstrous, atrocious, vile, hideous, ghastly, nasty, spiteful, mean
callous, sadistic, ruthless, merciless, unmerciful, pitiless, unsparing, unrelenting, remorseless, uncaring, unsympathetic, uncharitable, heartless, stony-hearted, hard-hearted, cold-hearted, cold-blooded, bloodless, unfeeling, unemotional, unkind, inhumane, severe, harsh, stern, inclement, flinty, draconian
British informal beastly
archaic dastardly, sanguinary
2‘his mother's death was a cruel blow’
harsh, severe, grim, grievous, hard, tough, bitter, harrowing, heartbreaking, heart-rending, distressing, upsetting, traumatic, painful, agonizing, excruciating
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