- The definition of cruelty refers to unkind or mean acts, or indifference to someone's feelings or emotions.
Calling someone mean names is an example of cruelty.
- the quality or condition of being cruel; inhumanity; hardheartedness
- pl. cruelties a cruel action, remark, etc.
- Law willful infliction of physical pain or suffering upon a person or animal, or of mental distress upon a person
Origin of crueltyMiddle English cruelte ; from Old French ; from Classical Latin crudelitas ; from cruel
- The quality or condition of being cruel.
- Something, such as a cruel act or remark, that causes pain or suffering.
- Law The intentional infliction of physical or mental distress, especially when considered as a basis for granting a divorce.
(countable and uncountable, plural cruelties)
From Old French crualté (French cruauté).
cruelty - Legal Definition
As a ground for divorce, the intentional and malicious infliction of physical or psychological abuse by a married person upon his or her spouse that endangers or severely impairs the spouse’s life or physical or mental well-being or creates a reasonable apprehension in the spouse’s mind of physical or mental harm. The extent of abuse that a spouse is expected to tolerate varies state to state, but a single act of cruelty is normally not enough to constitute grounds for divorce. See also abuse.