cruel

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: kro͞oəl, IPA(key): /kɹuː(ə)l/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊəl, -uːl
  • Hyphenation: cru‧el

Etymology 1[edit]

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

Adjective[edit]

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

  1. Intentionally causing or reveling in pain and suffering; merciless, heartless.
    The supervisor was very cruel to Josh, as he would always give Josh the hardest, most degrading work he could find.
    Synonym: sadistic
    Antonym: merciful
  2. Harsh; severe.
    • 2013, Ranulph Fiennes, Cold: Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth:
      He was physically the toughest of us and wore five layers of polar clothing, but the cold was cruel and wore us down hour after hour.
    • 1951, C. S. Lewis, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia:
      You may be sure they watched the cliffs on their left eagerly for any sign of a break or any place where they could climb them; but those cliffs remained cruel.
    Synonym: brutal
  3. (slang) Cool; awesome; neat.
Derived terms[edit]
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Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

cruel (not comparable)

  1. (nonstandard) To a great degree; terribly.
    • 1913, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Poison Belt[1]:
      "But I've served 'im ten years, and I'm fond of 'im, and, mind you, 'e's a great man, when all's said an' done, and it's an honor to serve 'im. But 'e does try one cruel at times."
    • 2016, Kerry Greenwood, Murder and Mendelssohn, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, page 219:
      'I've never got arthritis, though my old dad had it something cruel.'

Verb[edit]

cruel (third-person singular simple present cruels, present participle cruelling, simple past and past participle cruelled)

  1. (chiefly Australia, New Zealand) To spoil or ruin (one's chance of success)
    • 1937, Vance Palmer, Legend for Sanderson[2], Sydney: Angus & Robertson, page 226:
      What cruelled him was that Imperial Hotel contract.
    • 2014 April 1, The Sydney Morning Herald:
      He was on the fringes of Test selection last year before a shoulder injury cruelled his chances.
    • 2015 September 8, The Age:
      A shortage of berth space for mega container ships will restrict capacity at Melbourne's port, cruelling Labor's attempts to get maximum value from its privatisation, a leading shipping expert has warned.
  2. (Australia, transitive, intransitive) To violently provoke (a child) in the belief that this will make them more assertive.
    • 2007, Stewart Motha, "Reconciliation as Domination" in Scott Veitch (ed.), Law and the Politics of Reconciliation, Routledge, 2016, p. 83, [3]
      Violence is apparently introduced early by the practice of "cruelling": children even in their first months are physically punished and then encouraged to seek retribution by punishing the punisher.
    • 2009, Mark Colvin, ABC, "Peter Sutton discusses the politics of suffering in Aboriginal communities," 2 July, 2009, [4]
      [] I was referring to the area where you were talking about this practice of cruelling; the pinching of babies, sometimes so hard that their skin breaks and may go septic.

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

cruel (countable and uncountable, plural cruels)

  1. Alternative form of crewel

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

Asturian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin crūdēlis.

Adjective[edit]

cruel (epicene, plural crueles)

  1. cruel

Related terms[edit]

Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Inherited from Latin crūdēlis.

Adjective[edit]

cruel (masculine and feminine plural cruels)

  1. cruel

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Inherited from Old French cruel, from Latin crūdēlis; either remade based on the Latin or evolved from the Old French form crual, possibly from a Vulgar Latin form *crūdālis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

cruel (feminine cruelle, masculine plural cruels, feminine plural cruelles)

  1. cruel
  2. hard, painful

Synonyms[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

Galician[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Galician-Portuguese [Term?], from Latin crūdēlis.

Adjective[edit]

cruel m or f (plural crueis)

  1. cruel

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French crual, from Latin crūdēlis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /kriu̯ˈɛːl/, /ˈkriu̯ɛl/, /ˈkriu̯əl/, /ˈkruəl/

Adjective[edit]

cruel

  1. Merciless, cruel; revelling in another's pain.
  2. Deleterious, injurious; conducive to suffering.
  3. Unbearable, saddening, terrifying.
  4. Strict, unforgiving, mean; not nice.
  5. Savage, vicious, dangerous; displaying ferocity.
  6. Bold, valiant, heroic (in war)
  7. (rare) Sharp, acrid, bitter-tasting.

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • English: cruel
  • Scots: cruel

References[edit]

Portuguese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Galician-Portuguese cruel, from Latin crūdēlis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (Brazil) IPA(key): /kɾuˈɛw/ [kɾʊˈɛʊ̯], (faster pronunciation) /ˈkɾwɛw/ [ˈkɾwɛʊ̯]
  • (Portugal) IPA(key): /kɾuˈɛl/ [kɾuˈɛɫ], (faster pronunciation) /ˈkɾwɛl/ [ˈkɾwɛɫ]

  • Rhymes: (Portugal) -ɛl, (Brazil) -ɛw
  • Hyphenation: cru‧el

Adjective[edit]

cruel m or f (plural cruéis)

  1. (of a person or creature) cruel (that intentionally causes or revels in pain and suffering)
    O algoz era conhecido por ser extremamente cruel.
    The executioner was known for being extremely cruel.
    Synonym: bárbaro
  2. (of a situation or occurrence) cruel; harsh; severe
    Ele recebeu uma cruel mas merecida sentença.
    He received a harsh but deserved sentenced.
    Synonyms: severo, terrível, pesado
  3. (of a doubt or question) distressful
    Que dúvida cruel!
    What a horrible doubt!
    Synonym: terrível
  4. (of an occurrence) bloody; violent
    Foi uma batalha cruel.
    It was a bloody battle.
    Synonyms: sangrento, cruento, sanguinolento

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Spanish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Inherited from Old Spanish, from Latin crūdēlis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈkɾwel/ [ˈkɾwel]
  • Rhymes: -el
  • Syllabification: cruel

Adjective[edit]

cruel (plural crueles)

  1. cruel, mean

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]