Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “cruel”

cruel

adjective  /ˈkru·əl/ us  
extremely unkind and intentionally causing pain: Her classmates made some cruel remarks. Is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment? I think it’s cruel to put a dog in a cage.
cruelly
adverb  /ˈkru·ə·li/ us  
She treated him cruelly before the divorce.
(Definition of cruel from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of cruel?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “cruel” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

bitter

a type of dark brown beer with a bitter taste

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More