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quality of an action or a person

Cruelty can be described as indifference to suffering, and even positive pleasure in inflicting it. Sadism can also be related to this form of action or concept.


  • Man's inhumanity to man
    Makes countless thousands mourn!
  • He who seeks his own happiness by inflicting pain on others, being entangled by bonds of enmity, cannot be free from enmity.
  • The FBI has found that a history of cruelty to animals is one of the traits that regularly appear in its computer records of serial rapists and murderers, and the standard diagnostic and treatment manual for psychiatric and emotional disorders lists cruelty to animals as a diagnostic criterion for conduct disorders.
    • Daniel Goleman Child's Love of Cruelty May Hint at the Future Killer New York Times (August 1991)
  • The pain was maddening. You should pray to God when you're dying, if you can pray when you're in agony. In my dream I didn't pray to God, I thought of Roger and how dearly I loved him. The pain of those wicked flames was not half so bad as the pain I felt when I knew he was dead. I felt suddenly glad to be dying. I didn't know when you were burnt to death you'd bleed. I thought the blood would all dry up in the terrible heat. But I was bleeding heavily. The blood was dripping and hissing in the flames. I wished I had enough blood to put the flames out. The worst part was my eyes. I hate the thought of gong blind. It's bad enough when I'm awake but in dreams you can't shake the thoughts away. They remain. In this dream I was going blind. I tried to close my eyelids but I couldn't. They must have been burnt off, and now those flames were going to pluck my eyes out with their evil fingers, I didn't want to go blind. The flames weren't so cruel after all. They began to feel cold. Icy cold. It occurred to me that I wasn't burning to death but freezing to death.
  • Maybe God isn't the sex police, Richard. Sometimes I think Christians get all hung up on the sex thing because it's easier to worry about sex than to ask yourself, am I a good person? […] It makes it easy to be cruel, because as long as you're not fucking around, nothing you do can be that bad. Is that really all you think of God?
  • It is not linen you're wearing out,
    But human creatures' lives.
  • Even bear-baiting was esteemed heathenish and unchristian: the sport of it, not the inhumanity, gave offence.
    • David Hume, The History of England, (1754-62), Volume I, Chapter LXII.
  • The cruelties of property and privilege are always more ferocious than the revenges of poverty and oppression. For the one aims at perpetuating resented injustice, the other is merely a momentary passion soon appeased.
  • If we are to end our wars, we have to dispense with a threatening, vengeful, bloodthirsty God. If we're to have any kind of world brotherhood, we have to dispense with a God who reserves his favors for a chosen few. Life is given to all. The sun shines freely on each of us. Would a God be less kindly? More than this, we must also dispense with our species God, and extend our ideas of divinity outward to the rest of nature which couches us and our religious theorizing with such a gracious and steady support.
    • Jane Roberts in The God of Jane: A Psychic Manifesto, p. 63.
  • Men so noble,
    However faulty, yet should find respect
    For what they have been; 'tis a cruelty
    To load a falling man.
  • Sadism is plainly connected with the need for self-assertion. At the same time it cannot be separated from the idea of defeat. A sadist is a man, who, in some sense, has his back to the wall. Nothing is further from sadism, for example, than the cheerful, optimistic mentality of a Shaw or Wells.
  • Inhumanity is caught from man,
    From smiling man.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 158.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 152-53.
  • Contre les rebelles c'est cruauté que d'estre humain, et humanité d'estre cruel.
    • It is cruelty to be humane to rebels, and humanity is cruelty.
    • Attributed to Charles IX; according to M. Fournier, an expression taken from a sermon of Corneille Muis, Bishop of Bitoute. Used by Catherine De Medicis.
  • Je voudrais bien voir la grimace qu'il fait à cette heure sur cet échafaud.
    • I would love to see the grimace he [Marquis de Cinq-Mars] is now making on the scaffold.
    • Louis XIII; see Histoire de Louis XIII, IV, p. 416.
  • Gaudensque viam fecisse ruina.

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