cru·el·ty n pl -ties
1 a: an intentional or criminally negligent act that causes pain and suffering
cruelty to children
b: mistreatment or neglect that causes pain and suffering compare abuse
◇ Cruelty is an aggravating circumstance to a crime (as murder).
2: a spouse's conduct that endangers life or health or causes mental suffering or fear – called also cruel and inhuman treatment;
◇ Cruelty is a ground for divorce.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun atrocity, austerity, barbarity, barbarousness, bloodthirstiness, brutality, brutalness, brutishness, crudelitas, cruel act, cruel conduct, deliberate malice, deviltry, enmity, ferity, ferociousness, ferocity, fierceness, harshness, heartlessness, ill-nature, ill-usage, ill-will, infliction of pain, inhumanity, intolerance, malice, malice aforethought, malice prepense, maliciousness, malignance, malignancy, malignity, mercilessness, oppression, outrage, persecution, rancor, relentlessness, remorselessness, ruthlessness, savageness, savagery, severity, spite, sternness, torture, tyranny, uncompassionateness, unkindness, unremorsefulness, viciousness, victimization, violence associated concepts: cruelty of treatment, cruelty to animals, cruelty to children, extreme cruelty, habitual cruelty, mental cruelty, unneccessary cruelty II index bestiality, brutality, inconsideration, mischief, oppression, severity

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

Any act of inflicting unnecessary emotional or physical pain. Cruelty or mental cruelty is the most frequently used fault ground for divorce because as a practical matter, courts will accept minor wrongs or disagreements as sufficient evidence of cruelty to justify the divorce. Now that every state has some version of no-fault divorce, cruelty is rarely used as a ground for divorce.
Category: Divorce & Family Law → Divorce, Child Support & Custody

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

n. 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.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

The deliberate and malicious infliction of mental or physical pain upon persons or animals.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

The deliberate and malicious infliction of mental or physical pain upon persons or animals.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   the intentional and malicious infliction of physical or psychological pain on another. In most states various forms of "cruelty," "extreme cruelty," and/or "mental cruelty" used to be grounds for divorce if proved. This brought about a lot of unnecessary (and sometimes exaggerated or false) derogatory (nasty) testimony about the other party. There was little standardization of what constituted sufficient "cruelty" to prove a divorce should be granted. Starting in the 1960s "no fault" divorce (sometimes now called "dissolution") began to replace contentious divorces in most states, so that incompatibility became good enough grounds for granting a divorce.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cruelty — Cru el*ty ( t[y^]), n.; pl. {Cruelties} ( t[i^]z). [OF. cruelt[ e], F. cruaut[ e], fr. L. crudelitas, fr. crudelis. See {Cruel}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The attribute or quality of being cruel; a disposition to give unnecessary pain or suffering to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cruelty — early 13c., from O.Fr. crualté (12c., Mod.Fr. cruauté), from L. crudelitatem (nom. crudelitas) cruelty, from crudelis (see CRUEL (Cf. cruel)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • cruelty — [n] brutality, harshness animality, barbarism, barbarity, bestiality, bloodthirstiness, brutishness, callousness, coarseness, coldness, depravity, despotism, ferocity, fiendishness, fierceness, hard heartedness, heartlessness, inhumanity,… …   New thesaurus

  • cruelty — ► NOUN (pl. cruelties) ▪ cruel behaviour or attitudes …   English terms dictionary

  • cruelty — [kro͞o′əltē] n. [ME cruelte < OFr < L crudelitas < CRUEL] 1. the quality or condition of being cruel; inhumanity; hardheartedness 2. pl. cruelties a cruel action, remark, etc. 3. Law willful infliction of physical pain or suffering upon… …   English World dictionary

  • cruelty — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ extreme, great ▪ an act of extreme cruelty ▪ deliberate (esp. BrE) ▪ casual ▪ mental …   Collocations dictionary

  • cruelty — n. 1) to demonstrate, display cruelty 2) consummate, deliberate, wanton cruelty 3) mental cruelty 4) cruelty to, towards (cruelty to animals) * * * [ kruːəltɪ] deliberate displaycruelty wanton cruelty towards (cruelty to animals) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • cruelty — cru|el|ty [ˈkru:əlti] n plural cruelties 1.) [U and C] behaviour or actions that deliberately cause pain to people or animals ≠ ↑kindness ▪ The children had suffered cruelty and neglect. ▪ There was a hint of cruelty in Brian s smile. cruelty to… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cruelty */ — UK [ˈkruːəltɪ] / US [ˈkruəltɪ] noun Word forms cruelty : singular cruelty plural cruelties 1) [countable/uncountable] behaviour that deliberately causes pain to other people or animals, or that makes them unhappy or upset She was shocked by the… …   English dictionary

  • cruelty — The intentional and malicious infliction of physical or mental suffering upon living creatures, particularly human beings; or, as applied to the latter, the wanton, malicious, and unnecessary infliction of pain upon the body, or the feelings and… …   Black's law dictionary

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