Crewel vs cruel

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Crewel and cruel are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words crewel and cruel, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Crewel is a loosely twisted worsted yarn that is used for a certain type of embroidery work known as crewelwork. This yarn is embroidered on linen to achieve a raised pattern on the work. Crewelwork done with crewel may be framed or it may decorate a pillow or upholstery. The word crewel has been in use since the 1400s, though the origin of the term is not known.

Cruel describes something or someone that causes pain and suffering without remorse. Cruel is an adjective. The word cruel is derived from the Latin word crudelis, which means hard-hearted or unfeeling.


In her spare time, she did beautiful crewel stitchery, loved flowers and gardening, watching and playing golf, being with family and fur babies, and watching the Seahawks. (The Daily World)

Lynn loved tiling furniture, refinishing furniture, stained glass art, hook-rugs, crewel, string art, reading and exploring as many U.S. states as possible. (The Buffalo Bulletin)

Biographer Penny Junor, who has been covering the royal family for four decades, has said that Netflix’s The Crown offers a ‘cruel and unfair’ portrayal of the family. (The Hindustan Times)

“It’s not to say it (the ACA) is without flaws, but just sweeping it off the table is ridiculous – and disruptive and cruel to a lot of people.” (The Tucson Sentinel)