Pronunciation: (krOO'ul),[key] —adj.,-er, -est. 1. willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others.
2. enjoying the pain or distress of others: the cruel spectators of the gladiatorial contests. 3. causing or marked by great pain or distress: a cruel remark; a cruel affliction. 4. rigid; stern; strict; unrelentingly severe.