cruel

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Related to crueler: cruelled
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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Crueler critics might describe their performance as reliable and more of the same, but nobody could slate Kelly's powerful voice, which filled Birmingham's NIA.
A cloudless day's crueler than one veined and dancing.
Evidently, the editors of Social Text felt comfortable publishing an article on quantum physics without bothering to consult anyone knowledgeable in the subject." That Sokal shares Social Text's hard-left political leanings - indeed, he claims he was angered by the "progressive" left's turn toward "epistemic relativism" - only made the joke that much crueler.
Well-born, well-bred, and initially owned by kind masters, he is sold to successively crueler owners.
Now, living as a slave to one of the crueler Master vamps in town, she leads a miserable existence and Addison is helpless to save her within the confines of the law.
Jekyll and Hyde is the story of doctor Jekyll who drinks a potion, which creates a younger and crueler version of him, named Hyde.
The woman's distorted sense of Biblical morality is far crueler than the barbs of Carrie's classmates.
"King Hussein's antidemocratic acts," he writes, "saved his kingdom from forces that would have been crueler than himself--His violence, therefore, was central to his virtue."
But, while he made the birdies, he could not have had crueler luck.
Watching over both is another, crueler "mother" the "damaged world," as Maxine's spectral (and airborne) mother, Evie (Deirdre Harrison), puts it - whose unforgiving ways mock any attempts to heal and absolve.
Shortly after Lea's arrival at the convent another harrowing incident occurs: members of the French Milice - frequently crueler than the Nazis themselves - make their way into the religious institution in an attempt to ferret out the Jewish girls whose parents had been sent to Drancy and then on to the concentration camps of Poland.
Barthes had a different and crueler name for the Kuleshov effect: he called it "myth," by which he meant the superimposition of a universalizing generalization (in the Moscow example: the fullness of human emotion) onto a specific, limited but of representation as its second-order "meaning." The results of myth, s Barthes analyzed them, were a naive buying-into the purported signified of a cultural phenomenon without having the distance, the skepticism, or the experience to attend to the signifiers laboring away to produce the mythified meaning.
I hadn't expected to see a crueler comedy while one of Albert Brooks's films was in release, but then The Object of Beauty came along.
Life can't get any crueler. Then, Jo must pretend to be dead.