- 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 cruelly
Instead, he is cruelly jailed solely for the peaceful expression of his beliefs.Behind Bars for the Holidays: 11 Political Prisoners We Want to See Free In 2015
December 25, 2014
When she wore a black-and-white striped dress, the Internet cruelly compared her to a Killer Whale.Kim Kardashian Posts Revealing Post-Baby Instagram of Butt, Internet Goes Crazy
October 17, 2013
The sunset was cruelly beautiful and as dusk deepened the Christmas lights on the firehouse grew grimly brighter.Sandy Hook Shooting: ‘We Can’t Tolerate This’
December 15, 2012
Cruelly, Sandilands pressed on, asking, “Right, and is that the only sexual experience you had?”2Day FM: The Radio Station Behind the Tragic Kate Middleton Prank
December 8, 2012
Aerial bombardment, cruelly consoling as this was for Israelis at the start, has limits that quickly became all too obvious.Playing With Fire
November 19, 2012
They might only be cruelly holding out hope to one of the doomed.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
The latter was cruelly polite and attentive in his demeanour.
They have begun so cruelly with me, that I have not spirit enough to assert my own negative.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
How could I fear to die after he was taken away from me so cruelly!The Secret Agent
I have no wish to comment upon that past with which you reproach me so cruelly.A Comedy of Marriage and Other Tales
Guy De Maupassant
- causing or inflicting pain without pitya cruel teacher
- causing pain or sufferinga cruel accident
Word Origin and History for cruelly
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.