be cruel to be kind

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

  • From Hamlet Act 3; Scene 4. by William Shakespeare
  • I must be cruel, only to be kind: Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.

Verb[edit]

be cruel to be kind

  1. To do or say something to another person which you believe to be for their own good, and will be helpful for them in the future, although it might be painful or hurtful at this moment.