• WordNet 3.6
    • adj cruel (of persons or their actions) able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering "a barbarous crime","brutal beatings","cruel tortures","Stalin's roughshod treatment of the kulaks","a savage slap","vicious kicks"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Cruel Attended with cruetly; painful; harsh. "You have seen cruel proof of this man's strength."
    • Cruel Causing, or fitted to cause, pain, grief, or misery. "Cruel wars, wasting the earth.""Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath for it was cruel ."
    • Cruel Disposed to give pain to others; willing or pleased to hurt, torment, or afflict; destitute of sympathetic kindness and pity; savage; inhuman; hard-hearted; merciless. "Behold a people cometh from the north country; . . . they are cruel and have no mercy."
    • n Cruel krṳ"ĕl See Crewel.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • cruel Disposed to inflict suffering, physical or mental; indifferent to or taking pleasure in the pain or distress of any sentient being; willing or pleased to torment, vex, or afflict; destitute of pity, compassion, or kindness; hard-hearted; pitiless.
    • cruel Proceeding from or exhibiting indifference to or pleasure in the suffering of others; causing pain, grief, or distress; performed or exerted in tormenting, vexing, or afflicting: as, a cruel act; a cruel disposition; the cruel treatment of animals.
    • cruel Synonyms Barbarous, savage, ferocious, brutal, merciless, unmerciful, pitiless, unfeeling, fell, ruthless, truculent, bloodthirsty, inexorable, unrelenting.
    • cruel Very; extremely.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Cruel krōō′el disposed to inflict pain, or pleased at suffering: void of pity, merciless, savage: severe
    • ***


  • William C. Redfield
    William C. Redfield
    “Facts have a cruel way of substituting themselves for fancies. There is nothing more remorseless, just as there is nothing more helpful, than truth.”
  • Ouida
    “Familiarity is a magician that is cruel to beauty but kind to ugliness.”
  • Publilius Syrus
    “An angry father is most cruel toward himself.”
  • Tennessee Williams
    “All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.”
  • Ouida
    “A cruel story runs on wheels, and every hand oils the wheels as they run.”
  • Albert Camus
    “To live is to hurt others, and through others, to hurt oneself. Cruel earth! How can we manage not to touch anything? To find what ultimate exile?”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. cruel, fr. L. crudelis, fr. crudus,. See Crude
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. cruel—L. crudelis.


In literature:

The mountains looked cruel; the fields barren.
"The Book of Stories for the Storyteller" by Fanny E. Coe
And from the first, he began to plot the most cruel and awful vengeance in human history.
"The Clansman" by Thomas Dixon
Can he, who is the tenderest, the best of friends, be also the vilest and most cruel of mankind?
"Eastern Tales by Many Story Tellers" by Various
And yet he was not a cruel man.
"The Vicar of Bullhampton" by Anthony Trollope
A huge eagle flew round the tree and darted at him with its cruel beak.
"Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends" by Gertrude Landa
How clear, and vivid, and cruel!
"The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde
This was a cruel mockery!
"Travels in Peru, on the Coast, in the Sierra, Across the Cordilleras and the Andes, into the Primeval Forests" by J. J. von Tschudi
Have you supported this cruel kingdom of darkness and death?
"Select Temperance Tracts" by American Tract Society
He couldn't have been so brutally cruel.
"The Explorer" by W. Somerset Maugham
It was so cruel to think of that.
"The Dop Doctor" by Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

In poetry:

Fate was strangely cruel
To plan that she should miss
(Sleeping over-soundly)
Her first pure kiss.
"Wanton" by Edith Mirick
Sighing I spoke: 'O cruel Poseidon,
Thy wrath is dreadful!
For myself I fear
In my homeward sailing.'
"The North Sea -- First Cycle" by Heinrich Heine
Sir the night is darker now,
And the wind blows cruel,
Let us go, I know not how,
And fetch him winter fuel.
"A Nightly Deed" by Charles Madge
Behold the hosts of hell,
How cruel is their hate!
Against my life they rise, and join
Their fury with deceit.
"Psalm 25 part 3" by Isaac Watts
How have they heart to blossom
So cruel and gay and red,
When beauty so hath perished
And valour so hath sped?
"Poppies on Ludlow Castle" by Willa Sibert Cather
Now she hath gone her cruel way,
And I am come again,
To seek among the husks to-day
For one sweet golden grain.
"The Other" by Anna Johnston MacManus

In news:

CEO is to blame for not reining in cruel HR chief.
University of Montevallo cat deaths 'creepy and cruel '.
I could say Stephen Kershnar is misinformed, but I'll just say his commentary "Dependency issue hits election" was cruel , and without merit.
Commentary was ' cruel .
Editor, OBSERVER: I could say Stephen Kershnar is misinformed, but I'll just say his commentary "Dependency issue hits election" was cruel , and without merit.
Taylor Swift Turns Cruel Joke Into a Happy Ending.
It's cruel to deny rape victims abortions.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's narcissistic book is creepy and cruel .
' Cuckoo 's Nest' actress says her Nurse Ratched character is too cruel for her to watch anymore.
Fletcher says she's no longer able to watch the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest because the character she won an Oscar for, Nurse Ratched, is so cruel.
Louise Fletcher says she's no longer able to watch the movie ìOne Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nestî because the character she won an Oscar for, Nurse Ratched, is so cruel.
) and imagined a cruel world where our boyfriend's hair was better than ours.
The newest board member was hand-picked to carry out another deceptive movethe hiring of a coach that had allegedly handled a child with a hearing impairment in a cruel way.
Politics has a cruel way of demonstrating that just when you think you have everything figured out, the rules and situations change.
Assad's Devious, Cruel Plan to Stay in Power By Dividing Syria—And Why It's Working.

In science:

To be realistic, one only has to think of the treatment that some cruel human beings give to their victims, be either other human beings (often children) or animals.
Brane Worlds, the Subanthropic Principle and the Undetectability Conjecture
Siendo realistas, s´olo hay que pensar en el trato cruel que algunos seres humanos infligen a sus v´ıctimas, ya sean otros seres humanos (a menudo ni˜nos) o animales.
Brane Worlds, the Subanthropic Principle and the Undetectability Conjecture
An early example of optimization problem is narrated in Virgil’s Aeneid: Dido, a Phenician princess, is obliged to flee Tyre, her hometown, after her husband is murdered by her brother, a cruel tyrant.
Theoretical analysis of optimization problems - Some properties of random k-SAT and k-XORSAT