1 of 3


rued; ruing

transitive verb

: to feel penitence, remorse, or regret for

intransitive verb

: to feel sorrow, remorse, or regret


2 of 3

noun (1)

: regret, sorrow
with rue my heart is ladenA. E. Housman


3 of 3

noun (2)

: a European strong-scented perennial woody herb (Ruta graveolens of the family Rutaceae, the rue family) that has bitter leaves used medicinally

Did you know?

If you remember your high school French, or if you've ever strolled down the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, you may have the notion that the English word rue is somehow connected to the French word for "street." In actuality, the French and English words are not related at all. The English rue is originally from the Old English word hrēow, meaning "sorrow." Used as both a noun and, more frequently, a verb, rue is very old, dating back to before the 12th century.

Example Sentences

Verb He must be ruing his decision now. I rue the day I agreed to this stupid plan.
Recent Examples on the Web
While some leaders rue the loss of those status markers, the great leaders recognize this as an opportunity to serve their team. Julian Torres, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2022 And by the time the end of this Congress draws near, the GOP may rue not having a leader more like her. Rich Logis, The New Republic, 12 Jan. 2023 In a decision that has been heavily scrutinised, and Australia might rue with hindsight, captain Pat Cummins, who had made all the right moves before then, resisted the temptation and decided to bat on. Tristan Lavalette, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 The younger generation scoffs at the way their parents seem fatally, comically stuck in the past; the adults rue the fickle softness of their children. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, 26 July 2021 Critics still rue legalization, and dread the normalization of marijuana. Robert Mccoppin,, 16 Apr. 2021 Devoted fans of this pork operation rue the loss of the hams and sausage, but the Heil scrapple was the stuff of hog heaven. Jacques Kelly,, 13 Nov. 2020 Russia's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, warned that the cap's European backers would come to rue their decision. Jamey Keaten,, 3 Dec. 2022 After losing one of those squeakers Sunday, the Buffalo Bills might really rue the past week when the 2022 season is all said and done. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 7 Nov. 2022
Opened in 1902, the bar on 114 rue Amelot in the city’s Third Arrondissement became a canteen for clowns performing at the nearby Cirque d’Hiver, or the Winter Circus. Jacquelyne Germain, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English rewe, from Old English hrēow; akin to Old High German hriuwa sorrow

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin ruta, from Greek rhytē

First Known Use


12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rue was before the 12th century


Dictionary Entries Near rue

Cite this Entry

“Rue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
rued; ruing
: to feel sorrow or regret for


2 of 2 noun

Medical Definition


: a strong-scented perennial woody herb (Ruta graveolens of the family Rutaceae, the rue family) that has bitter leaves used in medicine

More from Merriam-Webster on rue

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