9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kroo-uh l] /ˈkru əl/
adjective, crueler, cruelest.
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
1175-1225; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin crūdēlis, equivalent to crūd(us) (see crude) + -ēlis adj. suffix
Related forms
cruelly, adverb
cruelness, noun
uncruel, adjective
uncruelly, adverb
uncruelness, noun
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.
1. kind. 2. sympathetic, compassionate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cruelly
  • Not only are they cruelly torturing cats, but also all the wildlife that they inflict their cats upon.
  • Vick should to community service caring for all animals that have been treated cruelly.
  • Of course there is the off chance that the design stems from a cruelly ironic intelligence.
  • It's tempting to dwell on the final moments of the loved ones whose lives were taken so cruelly.
  • But this time he was cruelly jilted-by his scriptwriter and director, in equal parts.
  • When you're dying onstage, the message arrives quickly and cruelly.
  • What's more, the pork comes in a cruelly fragile bun, which leaves you cupping fistfuls of meat and disintegrating bread.
  • In the memoir, he appeared as a fully formed editorial big shot, albeit one who was cruelly and unfairly knocked off his perch.
  • My delicate sense of optimism has been ripped cruelly from its stem.
  • It personalized the election result in a provocative way, but it was cruelly accurate.
British Dictionary definitions for cruelly


causing or inflicting pain without pity: a cruel teacher
causing pain or suffering: a cruel accident
Derived Forms
cruelly, adverb
cruelness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin crūdēlis, from crūdus raw, bloody
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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