ruthless

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

Definition of ruthless

: having no pity : merciless, cruel a ruthless tyrant

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Other Words from ruthless

ruthlessly adverb
ruthlessness noun

If someone can be ruthless, can one also be 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 The Trump administration viewed Soleimani as a ruthless killer, and the President told reporters in January that the general should have been taken out by previous presidents. Nada Altaher And Tara John, CNN, "Iran issues arrest warrant for Trump over drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani," 29 June 2020 For sports, where competition is its lifeblood and what captivates billions to be active across the world, the novel coronavirus is the most bitter, ruthless, hard-nosed opponent that it's ever faced. Briar Napier, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Rising GM: No perfect way to return to sports," 27 June 2020 In the premiere, Gotham City gets cut off from the rest of the United States, leaving the local baddies to carve up their dark metropolis into a series of ruthless principalities. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Harley Quinn needs so many more seasons," 25 June 2020 Unsurprisingly, protests mostly died down, and the country has since been ruled by a ruthless military dictatorship. Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic, "Do Protests Even Work?," 24 June 2020 The 19th century president's ruthless treatment of Native Americans has made his statue a target of demonstrators protesting the United States' legacy of racial injustice. Houston Chronicle, "Protesters try to pull down Andrew Jackson statue in DC," 23 June 2020 The 19th century president's ruthless treatment of Native Americans has made his statue a target of demonstrators protesting the United States' legacy of racial injustice. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Trump vows to issue executive order protecting statues, says it would 'reinforce' current law," 23 June 2020 The 19th century president's ruthless treatment of Native Americans has made his statue a target of demonstrators protesting the United States' legacy of racial injustice. CBS News, "Protesters try to topple Andrew Jackson statue near White House and get pepper sprayed," 23 June 2020 Watch the ruthless Biden ad spot, shared by Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko, below. TheWeek, "Trump reacts to intense Biden ad listing off his administration's biggest scandals," 19 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for ruthless

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

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Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ruthless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruthless. Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for ruthless

ruthless

adjective
How to pronounce ruthless (audio)

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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Comments on ruthless

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