Crueler or crueller, cruelest or cruellest

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Crueler and cruelest are the comparative and superlative forms of the adjective cruel. Cruel describes someone or something that causes pain and suffering, with no empathy. Crueler and cruelest are the American English spellings, they derive from the Latin word crudelis which means rude, unfeeling, hard-hearted.

Crueller and cruellest are the Canadian English and British English spellings of the comparative and superlative forms of the adjective cruel. Related words are cruelly, cruelty, cruelness, which are spelled the same way in both American English, Canadian English and British English.


As far as ways to miss out on a world championship medal go, they don’t come much crueler than the set of circumstances faced by New Zealand sailor Andrew Murdoch today. (The New Zealand Herald)

The “What if?” game in NASCAR’s playoff is crueler than any other sport, because elimination in other sports usually ends a season. (USA Today)

That threw him because he thought he’d seen cruelty in the prison camps, but being stricken with serious mental illness at the age of 21 to him seemed even crueller. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Some time this week the Government is expected to invite MPs to vote on whether to extend the restricted scope of Britain’s aerial bombing sorties against one of the cruellest terrorist organisations that humanity has ever seen. (The New Indian Express)

In his statement to the police, Rahul Mukerjea told the police how he and Sheena Bora met each other, fell in love and were happily engaged, until they were cruelly torn apart with her murder in 2012. (The Punjab Star News)

Horse stud owner Stuart King and his partner Kellie Parker pleaded guilty to four counts of animal cruelty in relation to neglect of the animals on a friend’s property at Acacia Hills. (The Mercury)