rueful

adjective
rue·​ful | \ˈrü-fəl \

Definition of rueful 

1 : exciting pity or sympathy : pitiable rueful squalid poverty … by every wayside— John Morley

2 : mournful, regretful troubled her with a rueful disquiet— W. M. Thackeray

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Other Words from rueful

ruefully \ ˈrü-​fə-​lē \ adverb
ruefulness noun

Examples of rueful in a Sentence

He gave me a rueful smile and apologized. the rueful faces of friends and family who had gathered to pay their last respects

Recent Examples on the Web

Having prepared the ingredients for an epic, Mr. Gessen has fashioned another work of narrow confessional realism that trucks in mundane observations and rueful ironies—something that feels, unfortunately, very American indeed. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Young and Privileged and Perpetually at Sea," 5 July 2018 Terrible revelations were batted back and forth in a spirit of rueful one-upmanship. Joseph O’neill, The New Yorker, "The First World," 21 June 2018 Beneath the placid surface of a rural estate where nothing seems to happen, momentous psychological shifts are unleashed by the arrival of a handsome tutor; there’s even a rueful neighborly doctor character like those in Chekhov’s familiar classics. Philip Brandes, latimes.com, "The 99 Seat Beat: 'Big Fish' at the Chance in Anaheim, free Shakespeare in Griffith Park," 6 July 2018 Bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch, hiding under a black cowboy hat, brought a rueful heaviness to the laconic Ennis, whose fear keeps the lovers from making a life together, while tenor Glenn Seven Allen emphasized Jack’s contrastingly daredevil spirit. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Brokeback Mountain’ Review: Star-Crossed Singing Cowboys," 4 June 2018 Even when the jokes are good, the laughs are rueful. Angela Watercutter And Peter Rubin, WIRED, "After That Finale, Does Silicon Valley Have Anywhere Left to Go?," 14 May 2018 In the rueful grimace of a mother on the subway, her hands enfolding a blond boy who could be a grumpy fallen angel, the strength of the expression and gesture convey an individual temperament. Arthur Lubow, BostonGlobe.com, "Before Stanley Kubrick wrote scripts, he took photos," 2 May 2018 The rueful irony of Britton’s tweet sums up the sentiment of what must feel like a missed opportunity to prove himself at a higher level. SI.com, "PHOTO: Swansea Star Laughs at Own Mistake of Turning Down Arsenal for West Ham As a Youngster," 27 Apr. 2018 God Save Texas is author Lawrence Wright’s affectionate, eye-opening, and, at times, rueful love letter to his native state. Kevin O’kelly, The Christian Science Monitor, "'God Save Texas' is Lawrence Wright’s affectionate, eye-opening, slightly rueful love letter to his native state," 19 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of rueful

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near rueful

rue anemone

rue bargain

rue family

rueful

ruelle

ruellia

rue oil

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Time Traveler for rueful

The first known use of rueful was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for rueful

rueful

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of rueful

: showing or feeling regret for something done

rueful

adjective
rue·​ful | \ˈrü-fəl \

Kids Definition of rueful

1 : exciting pity or sympathy

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More from Merriam-Webster on rueful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rueful

Spanish Central: Translation of rueful

Nglish: Translation of rueful for Spanish Speakers

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something that serves to warn or remind

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