Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: Latin crudelis, from crudus; CRUDE1


cru‧el S3
1 making someone suffer or feel unhappy:
His death was a cruel blow.
Sometimes life seems unbearably cruel.
2 deliberately hurting people or animals [≠ 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.

be cruel to be kind

to do something to someone that will make them upset or unhappy in order to help them in another way
cruelly adverb:
He was cruelly neglected by his parents.
WORD FOCUS: unkind WORD FOCUS: unkind
similar words: nasty, cruel, mean, inconsiderate, thoughtless, insensitive, unsympathetic, hard-hearted

See also

Dictionary results for "cruel"
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