Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[rooth-lis] /ˈruθ lɪs/
without pity or compassion; cruel; merciless:
a ruthless tyrant.
Origin of ruthless
Middle English word dating back to 1300-50; See origin at ruth, -less
Related forms
ruthlessly, adverb
ruthlessness, noun
unrelenting, adamant, relentless.
Synonym Study
See cruel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for ruthlessly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She had found a kindred spirit, and it has been ruthlessly torn from her arms as kindred spirits so often are.

    Elizabeth and her German Garden "Elizabeth", AKA Marie Annette Beauchamp
  • Things not much thought of, maybe, and ruthlessly defaced by all posterity.

    Laurus Nobilis Vernon Lee
  • He was ruthlessly sacrificing all who loved him, all whom he loved, to the Moloch of his own pride!

    The Spanish Cavalier Charlotte Maria Tucker
  • But why does he treat the earth so ruthlessly since all this was done without her will?

  • The jealousies which so weakened the Union armies during the first years of the Civil War were ruthlessly repressed.

British Dictionary definitions for ruthlessly


feeling or showing no mercy; hardhearted
Derived Forms
ruthlessly, adverb
ruthlessness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for ruthlessly



early 14c., from reuthe "pity, compassion" (see ruth) + -less. Ruthful (early 13c.) has fallen from use since late 17c. except as a deliberate archaism. Related: Ruthlessly; ruthlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ruthless

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ruthlessly

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for ruthlessly