[ rooth ]
/ ruθ /
Save This Word!


pity or compassion.
sorrow or grief.



Set some time apart to test your bracket symbol knowledge, and see if you can keep your parentheses, squares, curlies, and angles all straight!
Question 1 of 7
Let’s start with some etymology: What are the origins of the typographical word “bracket”?

Origin of ruth

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English ruthe, reuthe; see origin at rue1, -th1

Definition for ruth (2 of 3)

[ rooth ]
/ ruθ /


a Moabite woman who married Boaz and became an ancestor of David: the daughter-in-law of Naomi.
a book of the Bible bearing her name.
a female given name.

Definition for ruth (3 of 3)

[ rooth ]
/ ruθ /


George Herman "Babe", 1895–1948, U.S. baseball player.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for ruth

British Dictionary definitions for ruth (1 of 2)

/ (ruːθ) /

noun archaic

pity; compassion
repentance; remorse
grief or distress

Word Origin for ruth

C12: from rewen to rue 1

British Dictionary definitions for ruth (2 of 2)

/ (ruːθ) /


Old Testament
  1. a Moabite woman, who left her own people to remain with her mother-in-law Naomi, and became the wife of Boaz; an ancestress of David
  2. the book in which these events are recounted
George Herman, nicknamed Babe . 1895–1948, US professional baseball player from 1914 to 1935
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

Cultural definitions for ruth


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.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See Today's Synonym