from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Compassion or pity for another.
  • noun Sorrow or misery about one's own misdeeds or flaws.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Sorrow; misery; grief.
  • noun That which brings ruth; cruel or barbarous conduct.
  • noun Sorrow for the misery of another; compassion; pity; mercy; tenderness.
  • noun Repentance; regret.
  • noun A pitiful sight; a pity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Poetic Sorrow for the misery of another; pity; tenderness.
  • noun obsolete That which causes pity or compassion; misery; distress; a pitiful sight.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the great-grandmother of king David whose story is told in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament
  • noun a book of the Old Testament that tells the story of Ruth who was not an Israelite but who married an Israelite and who stayed with her mother-in-law Naomi after her husband died
  • noun a feeling of sympathy and sorrow for the misfortunes of others
  • noun United States professional baseball player famous for hitting home runs (1895-1948)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ruthe, from Old Norse hrygdh (influenced by Old English hrēow, sorrow, regret).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English ruthe, reowthe, corresponding to rue +‎ -th, perhaps after early Scandinavian (compare Old Norse hrygð, hryggð ("ruth, sorrow")). Compare rue.


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  • "Stark ruth of man his errand that him lone led till that house."

    Joyce, Ulysses, 14

    January 20, 2007

  • Pity or remorse

    September 6, 2008