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

This scene from Season 1 offers one of the first glimpses into how smart and ruthless Walter White (Cranston) can be when cornered. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul spark 'Breaking Bad' reunion buzz," 26 June 2019 But in The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un, Anna Fifield forcefully demonstrates that the North Korean leader is far more savvy, ambitious and ruthless than his ludicrous nicknames suggest. Krys Lee, Dallas News, "Book peers inside the hidden life of N. Korea's Kim Jong Un," 18 June 2019 Between Kidman’s tight, interior performance and Weigert’s gentle but ruthless portrayal of a woman shredding Celeste’s layers of denial, Big Little Lies gave a profound treatment to domestic abuse and its impact. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Family Values of Big Little Lies," 7 June 2019 His vivisection of the opposition and ruthless exercise of power have put him in position to win re-election, despite a record of governance that would destroy most presidents. The Economist, "As Venezuelans go hungry, their government holds a farcical election," 17 May 2018 City looked toothless in attack and worryingly fragile in defence, with their vulnerability ruthless exposed in the second half. SI.com, "Manchester City vs Leicester Preview: Classic Encounter, Recent Form, Team News & More," 9 Feb. 2018 The party’s aversion to the ruthless exercise of power is a major reason why the state of our union is so god-awful today. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Democrats Must Be More Ruthless — When They Actually Have Power," 24 Jan. 2018 Ironically, my anxiety has been the most ruthless ailment to date. Sarah Watts /, NBC News, "How 'defusing my thoughts' helped me claw my way back from debilitating anxiety," 23 Jan. 2018 In Black Panther, Erik Killmonger’s (Michael B. Jordan) ruthless skills as an assassin earned him both his nickname and a chest full of scars — tribal marks known as crocodile scarring to mark each one of his kills. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Michael B. Jordan reveals Killmonger's Black Panther scars were inspired by Denzel Washington in Glory," 7 June 2019

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

9 Jul 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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