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See also: Ruth



From Middle English ruthe, reuthe, rewthe, reowthe, corresponding to rue +‎ -th, perhaps after early Scandinavian (compare Old Norse hrygð, hryggð (ruth, sorrow)).



ruth (uncountable)

  1. (archaic) Sorrow for the misery of another; pity, compassion; mercy. [from 13th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, transl.; Michel de Montaigne, Essayes, printed at London: Edward Blount, OCLC 946730821:
      , II.11:
      It was my fortune to be at Rome, upon a day that one Catena, a notorious high-way theefe, was executed: at his strangling no man of the companie seemed to be mooved to any ruth [].
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, Chapter IV, 1859, New York, Harper & Brothers, page 14:
      under her light eyebrows glimmered an eye devoid of ruth [].
    • 2011, Turisas (Mathias Nygård), Hunting Pirates
      Scum they are! —Foe of mankind!
      Clear the sea! —Show no ruth!
  2. (now rare) Repentance; regret; remorse. [from 13th c.]
    • 1896, A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, XLIV, 2005, The Works of A. E. Housman [1994, The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman], page 61,
      Now to your grave shall friend and stranger / With ruth and some with envy come [].
    • ~1937, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fall of Arthur
      He mourned too late
      In ruth for the rending of the Round Table.
  3. (obsolete) Sorrow; misery; distress. 13th-19th c.
  4. (obsolete) Something which causes regret or sorrow; a pitiful sight. [13th-17th c.]

Derived terms[edit]