from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Disposed to inflict pain or suffering.
  • adj. Causing suffering; painful.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not nice; mean; heartless.
  • adj. Cool; awesome; neat.
  • v. To spoil or ruin (one's chance of success)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. 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.
  • adj. Causing, or fitted to cause, pain, grief, or misery.
  • adj. Attended with cruetly; painful; harsh.
  • n. See crewel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Disposed to inflict suffering, physical or mental; indifferent to or taking pleasure in the pain or distress of any sentient being; willing or pleased to torment, vex, or afflict; destitute of pity, compassion, or kindness; hard-hearted; pitiless.
  • Proceeding from or exhibiting indifference to or pleasure in the suffering of others; causing pain, grief, or distress; performed or exerted in tormenting, vexing, or afflicting: as, a cruel act; a cruel disposition; the cruel treatment of animals.
  • Synonyms Barbarous, savage, ferocious, brutal, merciless, unmerciful, pitiless, unfeeling, fell, ruthless, truculent, bloodthirsty, inexorable, unrelenting.
  • Very; extremely.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin crūdēlis.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old French, from Latin crūdēlis ("hard, severe, cruel"), akin to crūdus ("raw, crude"); see crude. (Wiktionary)



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