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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishcruelcru‧el /ˈkruːəl/ ●●● S3 adjective  1 CRUELmaking someone suffer or feel unhappy His death was a cruel blow. Sometimes life seems unbearably cruel.see thesaurus at unkind2 CRUELdeliberately hurting people or animals opp kind The prisoner was a hard cruel man. cruel jokes about mothers-in-law It was a cruel tactless thing to say.cruel to She was often cruel to her sister.3 be cruel to be kindcruelly adverb He was cruelly neglected by his parents.THESAURUScruel deliberately hurting people or making them sufferIt was cruel to lock the dog in the garage all day.Her father had been very cruel to her when she was a child. a cruel, selfish womanheartless not feeling any pity and not caring about other people or their problemsHow could you be so heartless!He was cold and heartless and had no concern for the welfare of his employees.sadistic getting pleasure from making other people suffera sadistic killera sadistic thing to dobarbaric extremely cruel, in a way that shocks peoplea barbaric punishmenta barbaric sport vicious very violent and cruel, especially by suddenly attacking someone and causing injury to thema vicious attack on an innocent manSome dogs can be vicious.brutal very cruel and violent, in a way that shows no human feelingsa brutal dictatorthe brutal methods used by the secret policeinhumane inhumane conditions, treatment etc are not considered acceptable because they cause too much sufferingthe inhumane treatment of prisonerscold-blooded a cold-blooded murder, attack etc is done without showing any feeling or pity for the person who is attacked. A cold-blooded killer kills people without showing any pitya woman's cold-blooded murder of her devoted husbanda cold-blooded psychopath
Examples from the Corpus
cruelPeople say showbusiness can be very cruel.Children can sometimes be very cruel.Killing animals just for their skins seems cruel.Brand was a cruel and intimidating man who abused his children and his wife.The mortals seemed miserable and the children cruel and now there was nothing left of the spectacle.In the second place, he invented fishnets, a cruel device whereby innocent fish leap weeping to your frying pans.The heavy mouth, the yellow skin, the cruel eyes - these told the real story.I knew I was cruel in letting the walks go on as if nothing had changed.Lyle was always playing cruel jokes on his little sister.The electric chair is possibly the cruelest method of execution.It had been a very cruel murder.It was cruel of you to frighten the poor boy like that.He didn't seem the sort of man to be cruel on purpose.A vindictive, cruel policy of repression also maimed the economy.An unknowable, harsh and cruel society had destroyed his father for no apparent reason.Her parents were very cruel to her when she was young.She married a man who was very cruel to her.I think it's cruel to keep dogs locked up inside all day.a long cruel wintercruel blowYet with their very first attack, the visitors struck a cruel blow.The fact Pears could be ruled out of the crunch game at Molineux is a cruel blow after his superb season.It is a cruel blow and one that again underlines the inconsistency of the red card law.This had been a cruel blow, but it wouldn't stop her from ensuring that justice was done.It would have been an unnecessary and cruel blow for her to see her old home in its state of decay.That was a cruel blow for Howard Wilkinson's team, who had made a committed, controlled and commanding start.He wanted to give comfort, and protect her from the cruel blow life had dealt her.cruel toHer mother could be cruel to her at times.
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