cruel

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be cruel to be kind

To be blunt and honest with someone in order to help them realize something that may help them. This phrase expresses the idea that it is sometimes necessary to hurt someone's feelings in order to tell them the truth. I'm not going to sit here and tell Judith that she's a shoo-in when she's clearly not ready for her audition. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
See also: cruel, kind

goodbye, cruel world

cliché An exclamation, note, or statement made immediately prior to one's death, especially by suicide. We felt as though we never had closure after Tom committed suicide. We never even knew he was contemplating taking his own life, and his note merely said "Goodbye, cruel world." The gunslinger lay on the ground, bleeding into the dust. "Goodbye, cruel world," he gasped with his last breath. And with that, he perished.
See also: cruel, world

you have to be cruel to be kind

You must be blunt and honest with someone in order to help them realize something that may help them; it is sometimes necessary to hurt someone's feelings in order to tell them the truth. I'm not going to sit here and tell Judith that she's a shoo-in when she's clearly not ready for her audition. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
See also: cruel, have, kind

you have to be cruel to be kind

When people say you have to be cruel to be kind, they mean that sometimes if you are unkind to someone it will be the best thing for them. `I have to be cruel to be kind,' said Lindsay. `If I don't control his food, he will eat himself to death.'
See also: cruel, have, kind

be cruel to be kind

act towards someone in a way which seems harsh but will ultimately be of benefit.
In Shakespeare 's Hamlet, ‘I must be cruel only to be kind’ was Hamlet's explanation of his reasons for bullying his mother about her second marriage.
See also: cruel, kind

be ˌcruel to be ˈkind

use unpleasant methods because they are necessary to help somebody: I was worried about Katie getting too involved with Steve so I eventually told her about his drug addiction — you’ve got to be cruel to be kind sometimes. OPPOSITE: kill somebody with kindness
See also: cruel, kind
References in classic literature ?
Torn and bleeding from many cruel wounds, I lay panting upon the ground within the hollow of the tree, while Tars Tarkas defended the opening from the furious mob without.
And then, from unseen lips, a cruel and mocking peal of laughter rang through the desolate place.
It seemed incredible that one so lovely could yet harbor within her fair bosom a heart so cruel and relentless, and today there was a new expression in her wondrous eyes that I never before had seen there--an unfamiliar softness, and a look of suffering.
A wan smile touched her lips--it was not the cruel and haughty smile of the goddess with which I was familiar.
Soon the golden light gleamed faintly through the cell, and she heard little voices calling for help, and high up among the heavy cobwebs hung poor little flies struggling to free themselves, while their cruel enemies sat in their nets, watching their pain.
When the King saw how pale and sad the gentle face had grown, how thin her robe, and weak her wings, and yet how lovingly the golden shadows fell around her and brightened as they lay upon the wand, which, guided by patient love, had made his once desolate home so bright, he could not be cruel to the one who had done so much for him, and in kindly tone he said,--
And can I, heedless of their beauty, doom them to pain and grief, that I might save my own dear blossoms from the cruel foes to which I leave them?
Long stayed the messenger, and deeper grew his wonder that the Fairy could have left so fair a home, to toil in the dreary palace of his cruel master, and suffer cold and weariness, to give life and joy to the weak and sorrowing.
When he was disobedient she cuffed him, it is true, but she was never cruel to him, and was more often caressing him than chastising him.
This inevitability alone can explain how the cruel Arakcheev, who tore out a grenadier's mustache with his own hands, whose weak nerves rendered him unable to face danger, and who was neither an educated man nor a courtier, was able to maintain his powerful position with Alexander, whose own character was chivalrous, noble, and gentle.
The doctor remonstrated to him privately concerning this behaviour, but could obtain no other satisfaction than the following plain declaration: "If you dislike anything in my brother's house, sir, you know you are at liberty to quit it." This strange, cruel, and almost unaccountable ingratitude in the captain, absolutely broke the poor doctor's heart; for ingratitude never so thoroughly pierces the human breast as when it proceeds from those in whose behalf we have been guilty of transgressions.
The captain, at Mr Allworthy's instance, was outwardly, as we have said, reconciled to his brother; yet the same rancour remained in his heart; and he found so many opportunities of giving him private hints of this, that the house at last grew insupportable to the poor doctor; and he chose rather to submit to any inconveniences which he might encounter in the world, than longer to bear these cruel and ungrateful insults from a brother for whom he had done so much.