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 But the quarantine is ruthless: One symptomatic man, in the middle of hosting a dinner party, is tied to a chair with cellophane, and his house is set on fire. New York Times, 4 June 2021 Nicky uses her martial arts skills to not only restore justice to her hometown, but also find the ruthless assassin who murdered her mentor (Vanessa Kai). Chancellor Agard, EW.com, 3 May 2021 In this version, Cruella is ruthless without reason. Jeanna Kadlec, Glamour, 25 May 2021 Voters needed to know whether she—whether any woman—could be trusted to make really hard decisions, such as using nuclear weapons or negotiating with ruthless foreign dictators. Elizabeth Warren, Fortune, 24 May 2021 Indeed, nothing is sacred in the ruthless American game of self-dramatization, not even the racial alienation experienced by Powell, the sole Black cast member. Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2021 Someone forgot to tell golf history that a brilliant, unthinkable, stirring edit of its résumé was being penned among the seagulls and ruthless ocean gusts at the PGA Championship. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2021 The key to implementing deep work, though, is to be ruthless. Expert Panel, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Acrobatic bars about trapping out of literal hunger and committing ruthless attacks tumble out of him with curt precision. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, 24 Mar. 2021

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ruthless

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ruthless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruthless. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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