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- Full of sorrow; sorrowful; woeful; rueful.
- Causing pity; piteous.
- c. 1588–1593, William Shakespeare, “The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene i]:
- An if it please thee! why, assure thee, Lucius, / 'Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak; / For I must talk of murders, rapes, and massacres, / Acts of black night, abominable deeds, / Complots of mischief, treason, villainies, / Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform'd:
- 1808 February 22, Walter Scott, “Canto Fourth. The Camp.”, in Marmion; a Tale of Flodden Field, Edinburgh: […] J[ames] Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Company, […]; London: William Miller, and John Murray, OCLC 270129616, stanza XVI, page 202:
- When last this ruthful month was come, / And in Linlithgow’s holy dome / The King, as wont, was praying; [...]
- Full of ruth or pity; merciful; compassionate.
- (causing pity): Unlike the other senses, which describe the person acting or the motivation behind an act, this sense is used to describe the effect of an action or circumstance. Thus, it is easily confused with the complementary term ruthless: a ruthless person (one lacking pity) may perform acts or bring about circumstances which are ruthful (cause or induce feelings of pity).
- (full of ruth): ruthless