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persistent cruelty

(Brit, law) conduct causing fear of danger to the life or health of a spouse (used in matrimonial proceedings before magistrates)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Historical Examples
  • I have a daughter—the lawful heiress of the Kurston lands—whom my wife drove, by subtle and persistent cruelty, from her home.

    Winter Evening Tales

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • Nothing in the entire system of creation can be more inexplicable than the persistent cruelty of Nature.

    Furze the Cruel John Trevena

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