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adj. cru·el·er, cru·el·est or cru·el·ler or cru·el·lest
1. Disposed to inflict pain or suffering: a cruel tyrant.
2. Causing or characterized by severe pain, suffering, or distress: cruel treatment; a cruel remark.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin crūdēlis; see kreuə- in Indo-European roots.]

cru′el·ly adv.
cru′el·ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cruelness - the quality of being cruel and causing tension or annoyance
brutality, ferociousness, viciousness, savagery - the trait of extreme cruelty
murderousness - cruelty evidence by a capability to commit murder
malevolency, malice, malevolence - the quality of threatening evil
References in classic literature ?
His eyes were bright but crafty, and his features denoted both sensuality and cruelness.
The blunt, cruelness of social media, the violence of video games, the parents not being able to say that the disturbing scenes on the Six O'clock news are make-believe, the pressure to look a certain way, to have to face bullies on their computers in the privacy of their bedrooms, all of these are to blame, as well as, for some, a genetic predisposition, or bad parenting.
Stephen knew he was dying but, rather than spend his last months raging against the cruelness of fate, he went flat out to raise money for charity.