verb (used with object), rued, ru·ing.

to feel sorrow over; repent of; regret bitterly: to rue the loss of opportunities.
to wish that (something) had never been done, taken place, etc.: I rue the day he was born.

verb (used without object), rued, ru·ing.

to feel sorrow, repentance, or regret.


sorrow; repentance; regret.
pity or compassion.

Origin of rue

before 900; (v.) Middle English ruen, rewen, Old English hrēowan; cognate with Dutch rouwen, German reuen; (noun) Middle English rewe, reowe, Old English hrēow; cognate with Dutch rouw, German Reue; cf. ruth
Related formsru·er, nounun·rued, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for rued

mourn, deplore, grieve, lament, apologize

Examples from the Web for rued

Contemporary Examples of rued

  • Some have rued the loss of influence from having one fewer seat.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Most Scandalous State

    Joe Mathews

    August 10, 2010

  • They rode their luck against England and rued it against Slovenia.

    The Daily Beast logo
    U.S. Wins!

    Joshua Robinson

    June 23, 2010

Historical Examples of rued

  • He rued his own bulk, and ate but sparingly, only out of politeness.

    Ripeness is All

    Jesse Roarke

  • Then he sat down again; which his ancestors had always refused to do, and had rued it.

    Mary Anerley

    R. D. Blackmore

  • I am sure she rued the day that ever she listened to a fortune teller.

  • And it was not long, Lesley, before I rued my disobedience and my deceit.

    Brooke's Daughter

    Adeline Sergeant

  • Bolli rued at once his deed, and declared the manslaughter due to his hand.

    Laxdla Saga


British Dictionary definitions for rued



verb rues, ruing or rued

to feel sorrow, remorse, or regret for (one's own wrongdoing, past events with unpleasant consequences, etc)


archaic sorrow, pity, or regret
Derived Formsruer, noun

Word Origin for rue

Old English hrēowan; related to Old Saxon hreuwan, Old High German hriuwan




any rutaceous plant of the genus Ruta, esp R. graveolens, an aromatic Eurasian shrub with small yellow flowers and evergreen leaves which yield an acrid volatile oil, formerly used medicinally as a narcotic and stimulantArchaic name: herb of grace Compare goat's-rue, meadow rue, wall rue

Word Origin for rue

C14: from Old French, from Latin rūta, from Greek rhutē
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

Word Origin and History for rued



"feel regret," Old English hreowan "make sorry, distress, grieve" (class II strong verb; past tense hreaw, past participle hrowen), from Proto-Germanic *khrewanan (cf. Old Frisian riowa, Middle Dutch rouwen, Old Dutch hrewan, German reuen "to sadden, cause repentance"); in part, blended with Old English weak verb hreowian "feel pain or sorrow," and perhaps influenced by Old Norse hryggja "make sad," both from Proto-Germanic *khruwjanan, all from PIE root *kreue- (2) "to push, strike" (see anacrusis). Related: Rued; ruing.



perennial evergreen shrub, late 14c., from Old French rue (13c.), earlier rude, from Latin ruta "rue," probably from Greek rhyte, of uncertain etymology, originally a Peloponnesian word. The bitter taste of its leaves led to many punning allusions to rue (n.2.).



"sorrow, repentance," Old English hreow "grief, repentance, sorrow, regret, penitence," common Germanic (cf. Frisian rou, Middle Dutch rou, Dutch rouw, Old High German (h)riuwa, German reue), related to the root of rue (v.).



French for "street," from Vulgar Latin *ruga (cf. Old Italian ruga), properly "a furrow," then in Medieval Latin "a path, street" (see rough (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper