Definition of cruelty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkrʊəlti/

noun (plural cruelties)

[mass noun]
1Cruel 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
More example sentences
  • The casual, unthinking cruelty of children is brilliantly evoked here.
  • Maybe it was because of casual human cruelty.
  • A prince may be ruthless when it is prudent, but wanton cruelty is foolish.
1.1 Law Behaviour which causes physical or mental harm to another, especially a spouse, whether intentionally or not: she divorced my stepfather for persistent cruelty
More example sentences
  • The jury was told that he had been convicted of grievous bodily harm and child cruelty against a girl in Essex in April 1998.
  • Her evidence was led in support of three so called specimen counts of rape, six of indecent assault and one of cruelty.
  • He pleaded not guilty to cruelty and claimed he had entrusted the puppies to a man called Phil.


Middle English: from Old French crualte, based on Latin crudelitas, from crudelis (see cruel).

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