noun | cru·el·ty
  1. a : an intentional or criminally negligent act that causes pain and suffering cruelty to animals cruelty to children

    b : mistreatment or neglect that causes pain and suffering — compare abuse

    Note: Cruelty is an aggravating circumstance to a crime (as murder).

  1. : a spouse's conduct that endangers life or health or causes mental suffering or fear — called also cruel and inhuman treatment

    Note: Cruelty is a ground for divorce.