Adjective "Cruel" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Wilfully causing pain or suffering to others, or feeling no concern about it.
  1. 'a cruel remark'
  2. 'It shocked me that I had been so cruel to her in the beginning and that I was never helpful or nice to her.'
  3. 'But I could understand his lifelong hatred of a nun who had been cruel to him at school.'
  4. 'A I think it's natural in the human spirit to be loving and kind but clearly humans can easily be incited to be evil and cruel.'
  5. 'That isn't to say she's a cruel or uncaring mother, just that she's busy.'
  6. 'After the death, staff at the home became intolerably cruel to her and made her life a living hell.'
  7. 'Why would he be so cruel to say he loved me then laugh about me behind my back?'
  8. 'But there was more to the crime than the wickedness of two cruel women.'
  9. 'Some evil, cruel person made a video of it and showed us the next day.'
  10. 'I basically told her to get out of my life because she was being so unfair and cruel to me.'
  11. 'She still felt guilty about how she had been deliberately cruel to him.'
  12. 'Fate is cruel to the people in the film.'
  13. 'We can reasonably conclude that this is an inhuman and cruel job that should go the way of child chimney-sweeps.'
  14. 'He prayed that the war might never be as cruel to them as it had been to him.'
  15. 'What about the people who decided which inmates were to be subjected to these cruel and inhumane conditions?'
  16. 'Still, the reality she faces is neither too harsh, nor too cruel.'
  17. 'She finally decided she wanted to join her father and leave the world that had been so cruel to her.'
  18. 'What other hideous and cruel things could happen in such a world that she lived in?'
  19. 'The problem is that people in the West have no clue how cruel the world outside is.'
  20. 'The system is very, very cruel and the trick is to not get involved in it.'
  21. 'Not only are punishments cruel, the legal procedures are positively medieval.'


Spoil or ruin (an opportunity or a chance of success)
  1. 'Its strategy meant that it was prepared to betray that core principle for perceived political advantage, thus cruelling the chances of some of our most vulnerable children.'
  2. 'He was a fresh, dynamic face on the political scene who travelled like a winner, before cruelling his chances with the finishing line in sight.'
  3. 'This 30 year old is being tipped to go places - if we haven't completely cruelled her chances by giving her a name check in Crikey.'


1. willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others.

2. enjoying the pain or distress of others: the cruel spectators of the gladiatorial contests.

3. causing or marked by great pain or distress: a cruel remark; a cruel affliction.

4. rigid; stern; strict; unrelentingly severe.

More examples(as adjective)

"people can be cruel to people."

"people can be cruel to animals."

"worlds can be cruel to people."

"stories can be cruel in inaccuracies."

"stages can be cruel to victims."

More examples++


Middle English: via Old French from Latin crudelis, related to crudus (see crude).


be cruel to be kind
cruel and unusual punishment