ruthless

adjective
ruth·​less | \ ˈrüth-ləs also ˈru̇th- How to pronounce ruthless (audio) \

Definition of ruthless

: having no pity : merciless, cruel a ruthless tyrant

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Other Words from ruthless

ruthlessly adverb
ruthlessness noun

What's the Difference Between Ruthless and Ruthful

Ruthless can be defined as "without ruth" or "having no ruth." So what, then, is ruth? The noun ruth, which is now considerably less common than ruthless, means "compassion for the misery of another," "sorrow for one's own faults," or "remorse." And, just as it is possible for one to be without ruth, it is also possible to be full of ruth. The antonym of ruthless is ruthful, meaning "full of ruth" or "tender." Ruthful can also mean "full of sorrow" or "causing sorrow." Ruth can be traced back to the Middle English noun ruthe, itself from ruen, meaning "to rue" or "to feel regret, remorse, or sorrow."

Examples of ruthless in a Sentence

The journalist was ruthless in his criticism. an office supervisor with a ruthless disregard for others' feelings

Recent Examples on the Web

Michael’s rising influence puts him in the path of Baines’ equally ruthless top aide (Adrian Grenier), as well as his own leftist activist roommate (Thora Birch). Noel Murray, latimes.com, "Sex-tinged melodrama 'Affairs of State' mirrors real politics," 14 June 2018 Will the police ever realize that sweet, frail, confused old Maud is in fact sharp as a tack and just as ruthless? Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: Tales to Warm a Cold Winter’s Night," 21 Dec. 2018 That body count in Anna and the Apocalypse is surprisingly ruthless, even by the standards of a zombie film. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "Why zombies are so hilarious," 5 Dec. 2018 By the tale’s end, Nixon is ruthless and paranoid, an alcoholic shell of a man fighting fruitlessly to retain his illusions about himself. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 They are built to make money, and consolidate enough power to keep making it — and the executives that lead them excel by doing so with ruthless efficiency. Casey Newton, The Verge, "22 predictions for social media in 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 The ridicule was ruthless, matched only by the anger Democrats directed at her for distracting from the election. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Biggest Loser: Elizabeth Warren," 8 Nov. 2018 In an unrelated case, Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges that his cartel laundered billions of dollars and oversaw a ruthless campaign of murders and kidnappings. ___ Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 . Michael Balsamo, Fox News, "Authorities say they've busted large Mexico-to-US drug ring," 9 Aug. 2018 If ruthless scoring and wagging tongue celebrations are your thing, then Jordan is the playoff pick for you. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Michael Jordan or LeBron James: Which one is the Greatest of All Time?," 13 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ruthless.' 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 ruthless

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for ruthless

The first known use of ruthless was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ruthless

ruthless

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ruthless

: having no pity : cruel or merciless

ruthless

adjective
ruth·​less | \ ˈrüth-ləs How to pronounce ruthless (audio) \

Kids Definition of ruthless

: having no pity : cruel

Other Words from ruthless

ruthlessly adverb
ruthlessness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on ruthless

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ruthless

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ruthless

Spanish Central: Translation of ruthless

Nglish: Translation of ruthless for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruthless for Arabic Speakers

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