Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of cruel
Meaning of cruel by Wiktionary Dictionary



    Middle English, from Old French, from Latin crūdēlis ( “hard, severe, cruel” ), akin to crūdus ( “raw, crude” ); see crude .


    • ( RP ) enPR: kro͞oəl, IPA: /kɹuːəl/, X-SAMPA: /kr\u:@l/
    • Rhymes: -ʊəl


    cruel ( comparative crueler or crueller, superlative cruelest or cruellest )

    1. Not nice; mean; heartless .
      The supervisor was very cruel to Josh, as he would always give Josh the hardest, most degrading work he could find .
    2. ( slang ) Cool; awesome; neat .


    Derived terms

    Related terms

    External links

    • cruel in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • cruel in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911


Explanation of cruel by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. ( of persons or their actions ) able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering

    2. cruel tortures

    Definition of cruel by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Cruel ( kruĕl ), n. See Crewel.

    2. Cruel ( kruĕl ), a. [F. cruel, fr. L. crudelis, fr. crudus. See Crude.]
      1. Disposed to give pain to others; willing or pleased to hurt, torment, or afflict; destitute of sympathetic kindness and pity; savage; inhuman; hard-hearted; merciless.

      Behold a people cometh from the north country; . . . they are cruel and have no mercy. Jer. vi. 22,23.

      2. Causing, or fitted to cause, pain, grief, or misery.

      Cruel wars, wasting the earth. Milton.

      Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath for it was cruel. Gen. xlix. 7.

      3. Attended with cruetly; painful; harsh.

      You have seen cruel proof of this man's strength. Shak.