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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
His eyes were bright but crafty, and his features denoted both sensuality and cruelness. In his youth he may have been a rather fine looking black, but when I saw him his appearance was revolting--to me, at least.
Keeping up the appearances of normalcy involves such cruelness, to the extent that the speaker in the cycle "[name of cycle]" wishes to spare his mother the sight of the war's aftermath, which he sees as an act of revenge.
According to professor of the Institute of the Religious Science Bakytzhan Satershinov, there are people among us, who completely deny the national tradition and culture, do not accept the principles of the secular state, do not accept the arts and literature, science and philosophy are considered by them as a 'delusion', and the role of rationalism in the process of cognition is narrowed to zero, based only on the literalism and dogmatism, are proud of their godliness, while the opinions and the lifestyle of the others are deemed by them to be recreance, who exchanged the good-naturedness of their hearts for the cruelness of the fanaticism of religion (Satershinov, 2012).
Shocked by the cruelness of the theft, Diane Compton-Belcher, headteacher at the school, organised a last-minute fundraising non uniform day in school yesterday to help raise enough cash to replace the stolen gifts.