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: 1175–1225;Middle English < Anglo-French,Old French < Latincrūdēlis, equivalent to crūd(us) (see crude) + -ēlis adj. suffix
Synonyms 1. bloodthirsty, ferocious, merciless, relentless. Cruel, pitiless, ruthless, brutal, savage imply readiness to cause pain to others. Cruel implies willingness to cause pain, and indifference to suffering: a cruel stepfather.Pitiless adds the idea of refusal to show compassion: pitiless to captives.Ruthless implies cruelty and unscrupulousness, letting nothing stand in one's way: ruthless greed.Brutal implies cruelty that takes the form of physical violence: a brutal master.Savage suggests fierceness and brutality: savage battles.