- An action carried out purposely or due to severe negligence which leads to distress and agony
- The process of treating someone badly or ignoring their needs that ultimately results in distress and pain
- Behavior from one partner in a marriage that puts the other's well-being at risk or instigates emotional distress or fear
- The court could not ignore the evidence of cruelty in the dog fighting ring.
- Due to the extensive evidence of cruelty in the relationship, the partner pleaded for a divorce.
- The orphanage was closed by the state for instances of cruelty towards the children under its care.