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 Washington and McDormand are both in their 60s, older than has been typical for actors in the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and their presence gives new dimension to the characters’ ruthless actions. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 27 Sep. 2021 The government’s response, although not immediate, was ruthless. Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2021 Be ruthless about not taking everyone’s opinion into account. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 After a stunning loss in the opener, the U.S. women’s soccer team vowed to be ruthless against New Zealand. Author: Anne M. Peterson, Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2021 After a stunning loss in the opener, the U.S. women's soccer team vowed to be ruthless against New Zealand. NBC News, 24 July 2021 After a stunning loss in the opener, the U.S. women’s soccer team vowed to be ruthless against New Zealand. Anne M. Peterson, chicagotribune.com, 24 July 2021 Animal sacrifice might go down as her most ruthless deed yet (and Carol killed a kid once). Richard Rys, Vulture, 5 Sep. 2021 The Taliban controls Afghanistan again, two decades after imposing its ruthless and repressive interpretation of Islamic Sharia law over the windswept, landlocked nation of nearly 40 million. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Aug. 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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ruthless

ruthful

ruthless

rutidosis

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ruthless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruthless. Accessed 28 Oct. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on ruthless

Nglish: Translation of ruthless for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruthless for Arabic Speakers

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