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

n the quality of being cruel and causing tension or annoyance

cruelness, harshness
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

n feelings of extreme heartlessness

mercilessness, pitilessness, ruthlessness
Type of:
coldheartedness, hardheartedness, heartlessness
an absence of concern for the welfare of others

n a cruel act; a deliberate infliction of pain and suffering

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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