Cruelty is a characteristic of deliberately causing someone pain. Years of cruelty by their leaders can cause citizens to rise up together and revolt.

Keeping a dog tied up outside all day and all night is animal cruelty, while kids' endless bullying of a classmate is another kind of cruelty. In both examples, people act in a coldhearted way that causes another being to feel terrible. The Latin root of cruelty is crudelis, "rude, unfeeling, or hard-hearted," which is related to crudus, "rough, raw, or bloody," the root of crude.

Definitions of cruelty
  1. noun
    the quality of being cruel and causing tension or annoyance
    synonyms: cruelness, harshness
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    brutality, ferociousness, savagery, viciousness
    the trait of extreme cruelty
    cruelty evidence by a capability to commit murder
    type of:
    malevolence, malevolency, malice
    the quality of threatening evil
  2. noun
    feelings of extreme heartlessness
    synonyms: mercilessness, pitilessness, ruthlessness
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    type of:
    coldheartedness, hardheartedness, heartlessness
    an absence of concern for the welfare of others
  3. noun
    a cruel act; a deliberate infliction of pain and suffering
    synonyms: inhuman treatment
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    the act of piercing with a sharpened stake as a form of punishment or torture
    atrocity, inhumanity
    an act of atrocious cruelty
    barbarism, barbarity, brutality, savagery
    a brutal barbarous savage act
    a wantonly cruel act
    an act of extreme wickedness
    type of:
    abuse, ill-treatment, ill-usage, maltreatment
    cruel or inhumane treatment
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