- willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others.
- enjoying the pain or distress of others: the cruel spectators of the gladiatorial contests.
- causing or marked by great pain or distress: a cruel remark; a cruel affliction.
- rigid; stern; strict; unrelentingly severe.
Origin of cruel
SynonymsSee more synonyms for cruel on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for cruelest
Like, the most vicious, cruelest, most amazingly crafted insults ever.Veep’s Jonah Is TV’s Most Insufferable Character (But We Love Him)
April 4, 2014
“The cruelest thing you can do to a horse is keep it alone,” he says.De Blasio Whipped by Horse Lobby
March 8, 2014
Al-Suri had been held for seven years in some of the cruelest prisons in the world: the Pakistanis', the CIA's and the Syrians'.The Master Terrorist We Gave Away
May 28, 2013
Ismayilova prefers to characterize what she does as “reporting the truths about the cruelest regimes.”Portraits Of Courage: Female Journalists Honored At International Women’s Media Foundation Awards
October 24, 2012
Now a senseless massacre makes it the cruelest of clichés: the quiet town struck by tragedy.Aurora, Colorado: Small Town Shaken by ‘Dark Knight’ Shooting
July 21, 2012
She thought his laugh the most contemptuous, the cruelest sound in the world.The Incomplete Amorist
"Far, far from it; it is the saddest and cruelest of all my life," muttered she, half to herself.The Fortunes Of Glencore
Charles James Lever
The wickedest, cruelest man in the bunch––and the best shot.Whispering Smith
Frank H. Spearman
God had still this last and cruelest trial of all reserved for me.The Child of Pleasure
She depended on them to spread the news in the cruelest way.Grace Harlowe's Third Year at Overton College
Jessie Graham Flower
- causing or inflicting pain without pitya cruel teacher
- causing pain or sufferinga cruel accident
Word Origin and History for cruelest
early 13c., from Old French cruel (12c.), earlier crudel, from Latin crudelis "rude, unfeeling; cruel, hard-hearted," related to crudus "rough, raw, bloody" (see crude). Related: Cruelly.