fem. proper name, biblical ancestor of David, from Hebrew Ruth, probably a contraction of reuth "companion, friend, fellow woman."
"sorrow for the misery of another; repentance, regret," c.1200, ruthe, from Old Norse hryggð "ruth, sorrow," from hryggr "sorrowful, grieved" (see rue (v.)) + Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Or else formed in English from reuwen "to rue" on the model of true/truth, etc. The Old English word was rue (n.2).
The great-grandmother of King David, known for her kindness and faithfulness. Not an Israelite herself, she married an Israelite who had come to her country with his family. Ruth's husband died, and her mother-in-law, Naomi, set out to return to the country of the Israelites. Ruth insisted on accompanying Naomi, saying, “ Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.” In the country of the Israelites, Ruth married Boaz, a rich relative of her dead husband; Boaz had been attracted to Ruth by her generosity. Her story is told in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament.
a friend, a Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, whose father, Elimelech, had settled in the land of Moab. On the death of Elimelech and Mahlon, Naomi came with Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who refused to leave her, to Bethlehem, the old home from which Elimelech had migrated. There she had a rich relative, Boaz, to whom Ruth was eventually married. She became the mother of Obed, the grandfather of David. Thus Ruth, a Gentile, is among the maternal progenitors of our Lord (Matt. 1:5). The story of "the gleaner Ruth illustrates the friendly relations between the good Boaz and his reapers, the Jewish land system, the method of transferring property from one person to another, the working of the Mosaic law for the relief of distressed and ruined families; but, above all, handing down the unselfishness, the brave love, the unshaken trustfulness of her who, though not of the chosen race, was, like the Canaanitess Tamar (Gen. 38:29; Matt. 1:3) and the Canaanitess Rahab (Matt. 1:5), privileged to become the ancestress of David, and so of 'great David's greater Son'" (Ruth 4:18-22).