Definition of cruelty noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkruːəlti//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkruːəlti//
    (pl. cruelties)
    jump to other results
  1. 1[uncountable] cruelty (to somebody/something) behaviour that causes pain or suffering to others, especially deliberately cruelty to animals The deliberate cruelty of his words cut her like a knife. opposite kindness
  2. 2[countable, usually plural] a cruel action Frightening cruelties were inflicted on child factory workers well into the 19th century.
  3. 3[countable, uncountable] something that happens that seems unfair the cruelties of life
  4. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French crualte, based on Latin crudelitas, from crudelis, related to crudus ‘raw, rough’.Extra examples Her stepmother showed her nothing but cruelty. How can you inflict such cruelty on a child? She was shocked to see such cruelty. The children suffered mental cruelty and neglect. an act of extreme cruelty the depths of human cruelty
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: cruelty