Word of the Day : April 7, 2016

ruthless

play
adjective ROOTH-lus

Definition

: having no pity : merciless, cruel

Did You Know?

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

The country was ruled by a ruthless dictator who could inflict punishment at will on any person who defied his orders.

"While Wyatt's business tactics were said to be ruthless, they sure were smart." — James Reginato, Vanity Fair, February 2016



Name That Synonym

Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of ruthless: IAPGNNSRU.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!