[ roo-fuh-lee ]


  1. in a mournful or doleful way:

    I found myself sitting ruefully by the side of the road, near a little town in North Carolina, waiting for a tow truck.

  2. in a way that suggests repentance or regret:

    He is aware of his own flaws, at times ruefully so.

Discover More

Other Words From

  • half-rue·ful·ly adverb
  • un·rue·ful·ly adverb

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Discover More

Example Sentences

She smiled ruefully and said her brother was too skinny to fight.

From Time

Perhaps that name should not be felt so ruefully today, despite the reversion to authoritarian control in Egypt.

And yet, Norton says ruefully, “You know the old expression: ‘Wherever I went, there I was.’ ”

Somewhere, a no-longer-in-the-league Tebow is ruefully nodding.

At the climax of the play, Willy Loman ruefully tells his two sons that he was fired that day from his job.

She owes money to a lot of people, she says smiling ruefully.

Ruefully Aristide found no answers save in the general chuckle-headedness of mankind.

Ruefully Aristide asked himself the question: why had the Mayor not taken him into the confidence of his masquerading escapade?

Aristide looking at the remainder rather ruefully made a great resolution.

Dane glanced at Winston somewhat ruefully, but the latter's eyes were fixed on Colonel Barrington.

Somebody had scuffed his right shoe in getting out and now he pulled up the pant leg of his dark grey suit to study it ruefully.