Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “be cruel to be kind”

be cruel to be kind

to do or say something that causes someone pain because you believe that it will help themHelping and co-operating
(Definition of be cruel to be kind from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Translations of “be cruel to be kind”

Word of the Day

aptitude

a natural ability or skill

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