AskDefine | Define cruel

Dictionary Definition

cruel adj
1 lacking or showing kindness or compassion or mercy [syn: unkind]
2 (of persons or their actions) able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering; "a barbarous crime"; "brutal beatings"; "cruel tortures"; "Stalin's roughshod treatment of the kulaks"; "a savage slap"; "vicious kicks" [syn: barbarous, brutal, fell, roughshod, savage, vicious]
3 (of weapons or instruments) causing suffering and pain; "brutal instruments of torture"; "cruel weapons of war" [syn: brutal]
4 used of circumstances (especially weather) that cause suffering; "brutal weather"; "northern winters can be cruel"; "a cruel world"; "a harsh climate"; "a rigorous climate"; "unkind winters" [syn: brutal, harsh, rigorous, unkind]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

  • , /kɹʊəɫ/, /kr\u@5/
  • Rhymes: -ʊəl

Adjective

or

Translations

Cruel

French

Pronunciation

  • /kʁy.ɛl/
  • SAMPA: /kRy.El/

Adjective

cruel , cruelle
  1. cruel
  2. hard, painful

Synonyms

Related terms

Spanish

Adjective

  1. cruel

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Cruel redirects here. The sort of embroidery thread is correctly spelt crewel.
Cruelty can be described as indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it. Sadism can also be related to this form of action or concept.
Cruel ways of inflicting suffering may involve violence, but violence is not necessary for an act to be cruel. For example, if another person is drowning and begging for help, and another person is able to help, but merely watches with disinterest or amusement, that person is being cruel — not violent.
Cruelty usually carries connotations of supremacy over a submissive or weaker force.
The term cruelty is often used with regard to the treatment of animals, children and prisoners. See: punishment, draconian, and cruel and unusual punishment. When cruelty to animals is discussed, it often refers to unnecessary suffering.
According to Le Comte de Lautreamont "For my part, I use my genius to depict the delights of cruelty: delights which are not transitory or artificial..." because they are primordial and natural. "Cannot genius be allied with cruelty in the secret resolutions of providence? Or, can one, being cruel, not have genius?"
According to Friedrich Nietzsche, almost all higher culture comes from the spiritualization of cruelty.
According to Richey Edwards, "The centre of humanity is cruelty there is never redemption any fool can regret yesterday".
According to Ian McEwan, the Booker Prize winner in 1998, "novels are not about 'teaching people how to live but about showing the possibility of what it is like to be someone else. It is the basis of all sympathy, empathy and compassion. Other people are as alive as you are. Cruelty is a failure of imagination'."

See also

References

References

cruel in German: Brutalität
cruel in Spanish: Crueldad
cruel in Italian: Crudeltà
cruel in Dutch: Wreedheid
cruel in Russian: Жестокость
cruel in Slovak: Krutosť
cruel in Ukrainian: Брутальність

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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