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.

Examples of rue in a Sentence

Verb He must be ruing his decision now. I rue the day I agreed to this stupid plan. Noun (1) a soul filled with pain and rue
Recent Examples on the Web
One also rues the loss of Hecate in a play that ventures new interpretations of the witches. Rhoda Feng, Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2024 Au contraire, say longtime fans who rue what popularity is doing to the breed. CBS News, 20 Mar. 2024 This time, Williams wouldn’t end up ruing an offside call, firing home after the feed from her Gotham teammate was right on the money. Jason Anderson, USA TODAY, 21 Feb. 2024 Second-year Mack coach Barry Bell, an alum who played on the 2008 state championship-winners, rued his team’s inability to make one of the easiest shots in basketball. Darren Sabedra, The Mercury News, 20 Jan. 2024 Hamas may be distasteful to most Egyptians—who rue the unhappy tenure of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood—and indeed to most Arabs who are appalled by Hamas’s brutality, reminiscent of ISIS’s notorious cruelty. Lisa Anderson, Foreign Affairs, 25 Oct. 2023 Some readers will rue the absence of reality-warping plot contrivances, unreliable narration and metafictional devices. Malcolm Forbes, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 Rush end Jamil Muhammad rued what could have been a strip sack. Thuc Nhi Nguyen, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2023 Last month, a federal judge in California dismissed a previous challenge to the law brought by groups including the National Religious Broadcasters, ruing that the plaintiffs failed to allege an actual danger from the AB 587. Joel Rosenblatt, Fortune, 8 Sep. 2023
The goat’s rue is thought to stimulate the production of mammary tissue. Lainey Younkin, Ms, Rd, Parents, 15 May 2024 American Tabitha Knight is visiting her French grandfather in Paris, who lives across the rue from Julia Child, her husband, Paul, and sister Dort. The Know, The Denver Post, 17 Apr. 2024 Murphy plays this cataclysm with an all-too-genuine rue and fear. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 3 Dec. 2023 Harmony’s later scenes depict this clumsily — there’s a sequence where the elder Rabbi rues not taking advantage of the opportunity to kill Hitler himself — but the discomfort sticks with you. Vulture, 13 Nov. 2023 After months of auditioning teenagers who might lend this rueful morality tale a note of optimism without losing the rue, the role of Mary Flynn proved hardest to fill — until the creative team heard Morrison. Maryrose Wood, Variety, 12 Aug. 2022 In the vase, the researchers found traces of two intriguing plants—first the Syrian rue, which causes stimulating and hallucinogenic effects in humans at low doses. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, 15 June 2023 This realization is filled with rue, and yet there is a measure of wisdom in his uneasy acceptance of its verdict. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 May 2021 Some insiders rue omissions from the course plan. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rue.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 29 May. 2024.

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

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