adjective ( -eler, -elest; Brit. -eller , -ellest )
causing pain or suffering : I can’t stand people who are cruel to animals.
• having or showing a sadistic disregard for the pain or suffering of others : the girl had a cruel face.
ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin crudelis, related to crudus (see crude ).
noun ( pl. –ties)
callous indifference to or pleasure in causing pain and suffering : he has treated her with extreme cruelty.
• behavior that causes pain or suffering to a person or animal : we can’t stand cruelty to animals | the cruelties of forced assimilation and genocide.
• Law behavior that causes physical or mental harm to another, esp. a spouse, whether intentionally or not.
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French crualte, based on Latin crudelitas, from crudelis (see cruel ).
1 in a natural or raw state; not yet processed or refined : crude oil.
• Statistics (of figures) not adjusted or corrected : the crude mortality rate.
• (of an estimate or guess) likely to be only approximately accurate.
2 constructed in a rudimentary or makeshift way : a relatively crude nuclear weapon.
• (of an action) showing little finesse or subtlety and as a result unlikely to succeed : the measure was condemned by economists as crude and ill-conceived.
3 (of language, behavior, or a person) offensively coarse or rude, esp. in relation to sexual matters : a crude joke. See note at rude .
natural petroleum : the ship was carrying 80,000 tons of crude.
crudity |ˈkroōditē| noun
ORIGIN late Middle English : from Latin crudus ‘raw, rough.’
1 offensively impolite or ill-mannered : she had been rude to her boss | [with infinitive ] it’s rude to ask a lady her age.
• referring to a taboo subject such as sex in a way considered improper and offensive : he made a rude gesture.
• [ attrib. ] having a startling abruptness : the war came as a very rude awakening.
2 roughly made or done; lacking subtlety or sophistication : a rude coffin.
• archaic ignorant and uneducated : the new religion was first promulgated by rude men.
3 [ attrib. ] chiefly Brit. vigorous or hearty : Isabel had always been in rude health.
rudery |-ərē| noun
ORIGIN Middle English (in sense 2, also [uncultured] ): from Old French, from Latin rudis ‘unwrought’ (referring to handicraft), figuratively [uncultivated] ; related to rudus ‘broken stone.’
THE RIGHT WORD
Someone who lacks consideration for the feelings of others and who is deliberately insolent is rude (: It was rude of you not to introduce me to your friends).
Ill-mannered suggests that the person is ignorant of the rules of social behavior rather than deliberately rude (: an ill-mannered child), while uncivil implies disregard for even the most basic rules of social behavior among civilized people (: his uncivil response resulted in his being kicked out of the classroom).
Rough is used to describe people who lack polish and refinement (: he was a rough but honest man), while crude is a more negative term for people and behavior lacking culture, civility, and tact (: he made a crude gesture).
Uncouth describes what seems strange, awkward, or unmannerly rather than rude (: his uncouth behavior at the wedding).
Although people of any age may be rude, crude, ill-mannered, or uncouth, callow almost always applies to those who are young or immature; it suggests naiveté and lack of sophistication (: he was surprisingly callow for a man of almost 40).