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2017 Word of the Year

cruel to be kind

cruel to be kind in Culture

cruel to be kind definition


To be “cruel to be kind” is to cause someone pain for his or her own good. The phrase is used by Hamlet after he has berated his mother for her infidelity to the memory of her deceased husband.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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