- 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.
cruelty definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- 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: Middle English cruelte ; from Old French ; from Classical Latin crudelitas ; from cruel
cruelty definition by American Heritage Dictionary
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
noun pl. cru·el·ties
- The quality or condition of being cruel.
- Something, such as a cruel act or remark, that causes pain or suffering.
- Law The infliction of physical or mental distress, especially when considered a determinant in granting a divorce.
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.