cruelty

(redirected from cruel)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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 ?
Art thou come, by chance, cruel basilisk of these mountains, to see if in thy presence blood will flow from the wounds of this wretched being thy cruelty has robbed of life; or is it to exult over the cruel work of thy humours that thou art come; or like another pitiless Nero to look down from that height upon the ruin of his Rome in embers; or in thy arrogance to trample on this ill-fated corpse, as the ungrateful daughter trampled on her father Tarquin's?
And the Arthur who had spoken to her and looked at her in this way, who was present with her now--whose arm she felt round her, his cheek against hers, his very breath upon her--was the cruel, cruel Arthur who had written that letter, that letter which she snatched and crushed and then opened again, that she might read it once more.
In my case it was love--love of the divine Dejah Thoris; and the cause of the Thark's great and sudden love of life I could not fathom, for it is oftener that they seek death than life--these strange, cruel, loveless, unhappy people.
Phaidor's pleasure had been due to her realization of what this last cruel blow would mean to me, as well as to a partial satisfaction of her jealous hatred for the Princess of Helium.
no, no,(exclaimed Sophia) I cannot go to Newgate; I shall not be able to support the sight of my Augustus in so cruel a confinement--my feelings are sufficiently shocked by the RECITAL, of his Distress, but to behold it will overpower my Sensibility.
I know how I have deceived and injured you; I know how cruel and cowardly I have been.
After five thousand years the expression of the withered face and the eyeless sockets retained the aspect of horrid fear to such an extent, that Gahan knew that he was looking upon the body of O-Mai the Cruel.
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.
It is indeed a cruel thing," replied her friend; "but as we cannot help it, we must suffer patiently, and not let the sorrows of others disturb our happiness.
He was now swimming parallel to the bank and there he saw the cruel beast that would have seized him crouching upon the still form of his little playmate.
Don't blame me, my poor child, if I look on further than you do: if I see what is to come--too surely to come--in the cruel future.
It often went to my heart to see how the little ponies were used, straining along with heavy loads or staggering under heavy blows from some low, cruel boy.