Definition of CRUEL

CRUEL Adjective

Cruel is an adjective that describes behavior or actions that cause pain, suffering, or harm to others deliberately or without remorse. Here’s an overview of the concept of cruelty:

Infliction of Suffering: Cruel behavior involves the intentional infliction of suffering, hardship, or pain upon others. It may manifest in various forms, such as physical violence, emotional abuse, psychological torment, or neglect, resulting in harm or distress to individuals or groups.

Lack of Empathy: Cruel individuals often lack empathy or concern for the well-being and feelings of others. They may disregard the suffering or pleas of their victims, demonstrating callousness, indifference, or even enjoyment at the expense of others’ pain.

Power Dynamics: Cruelty can be exacerbated by power imbalances, where individuals in positions of authority or privilege exert control over those who are vulnerable or marginalized. Exploitative relationships, oppressive systems, or abusive environments may enable perpetrators to wield cruelty with impunity.

Psychological Factors: Psychological factors such as aggression, sadism, or unresolved trauma may contribute to cruel behavior. Perpetrators may derive satisfaction, dominance, or a sense of control from causing harm to others, fueling a cycle of abuse or violence.

Cruelty represents a violation of ethical norms and principles, causing unnecessary harm or suffering to others. By fostering empathy, compassion, and a commitment to social justice, individuals and communities can work towards preventing cruelty and promoting kindness, respect, and dignity for all.

Examples of CRUEL in a sentence

  • The cruel treatment of animals in factory farms has sparked outrage among animal welfare advocates.
  • Bullying is a cruel behavior that can have long-lasting psychological effects on its victims.
  • In literature, villains are often depicted as cruel characters who delight in causing suffering to others.
  • The dictator’s regime was notorious for its cruel oppression of political dissidents and minority groups.
  • Witnessing acts of cruelty towards vulnerable populations can evoke feelings of anger and helplessness.
  • The use of child labor in sweatshops is a stark example of the cruel exploitation of human beings for profit.
  • Despite advances in technology, war continues to inflict cruel suffering on innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.
  • Acts of kindness and compassion can counteract the cruel realities of the world, offering hope and support to those in need.

Origin of CRUEL

The term cruel has a complex etymological history, tracing its origins through various languages and cultural contexts.

  • Latin Roots: The word cruel has its roots in the Latin word crudelis, meaning “hard-hearted” or “harsh.” This Latin term conveyed the idea of lacking compassion or mercy, often associated with actions or behavior that cause suffering or harm.
  • Middle English Influence: Cruel entered the English language through Middle English, retaining its original meaning of being unkind, merciless, or brutal. In Middle English literature, the term was used to describe acts of violence, oppression, or inhuman treatment.
  • Evolution of Usage: Over time, the term cruel has evolved to encompass a broader range of meanings and contexts. It can describe not only physical acts of violence or oppression but also psychological cruelty, emotional abuse, or unjust treatment of others.
  • Moral and Ethical Connotations: In contemporary usage, cruel carries strong moral and ethical connotations, often used to condemn actions or behaviors that cause unnecessary suffering or harm to others, animals, or the environment.
  • Reflection of Human Nature: The term cruel reflects aspects of human nature that involve a lack of empathy, compassion, or consideration for the well-being of others. It serves as a reminder of the capacity for both kindness and cruelty within individuals and societies.

Through its journey from Latin to Middle English and its evolution in contemporary usage, the term cruel embodies the complexities of human behavior, morality, and ethics, highlighting the enduring significance of compassion and empathy in human relationships and society.


  • Heartless
  • Ruthless
  • Brutal
  • Inhumane
  • Sadistic
  • Harsh
  • Unkind
  • Merciless


  • Kind
  • Compassionate
  • Benevolent
  • Gentle
  • Merciful
  • Empathetic
  • Tender
  • Sympathetic


  • Callous
  • Cold-blooded
  • Pitiless
  • Torment
  • Oppression
  • Suffering
  • Atrocity
  • Abuse

🌐 🇬🇧 CRUEL in other languages

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