cruelty

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cruelty

the infliction of pain or distress unnecessarily.

cruelty to animals
an offence under the Protection of Animals Act or similar legislation. The definition of unnecessary varies between countries and from time to time in the one country. Under the impetus of a great body of community compassion the threhold has been greatly lowered in recent times. Determination of the prevailing standard of cruelty can only be decided by the courts.
It is now taken to include, besides physical assault and surgery without anesthesia, deprival of food, water and shelter. The worst kinds of cruelty are susceptible to the heaviest penalty, under the classification of aggravated cruelty.
References in classic literature ?
Ungrateful, cruel, coy, and fair, Was she that drove him to despair, And Love hath made her his ally For spreading wide his tyranny.
Soon the golden light gleamed faintly through the cell, and she heard little voices calling for help, and high up among the heavy cobwebs hung poor little flies struggling to free themselves, while their cruel enemies sat in their nets, watching their pain.
Instantly a score of cruel fangs and keen talons were sunk into my flesh; cold, sucking lips fastened themselves upon my arteries.
To be thus blocked by nature, who had had all the arts and wiles of cunning man pitted against him, seemed a cruel fate, and as I staggered back into the warmth of the tunnel's end I was as near hopelessness as I ever have been.
In the lead was Kala, for she had recognized the tones of her best beloved, and with her was the mother of the little ape who lay dead beneath cruel Sabor.
But they presently regained their courage sufficiently to cross this chamber too and enter the short passageway that led to the ancient sleeping apartment of O-Mai the Cruel.
Good or bad, compassionate or cruel, the Major was a man.
But do you show your great might and unconquerable strength, and face the Titans in bitter strife; for remember our friendly kindness, and from what sufferings you are come back to the light from your cruel bondage under misty gloom through our counsels.
To do Ralph Nickleby justice, he seldom practised this sort of dissimulation; but he understood those who did, and therefore suffered Bray to say, again and again, with great vehemence, that they were jointly doing a very cruel thing, before he again offered to interpose a word.
He knew no fear, but in the face of Nature's manifestations of her cruel, immeasurable powers, he felt very small--very small and very lonely.
The captain, at Mr Allworthy's instance, was outwardly, as we have said, reconciled to his brother; yet the same rancour remained in his heart; and he found so many opportunities of giving him private hints of this, that the house at last grew insupportable to the poor doctor; and he chose rather to submit to any inconveniences which he might encounter in the world, than longer to bear these cruel and ungrateful insults from a brother for whom he had done so much.
All the most cruel words that a brutal man could say, he said to her in her imagination, and she could not forgive him for them, as though he had actually said them.