December 03, 2017
ruthless (adjective)
\ROOTH-lus\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: having no pity : merciless, cruel
How do you use it?
"Everyone seems to be playing up some kind of angle. The monstrous boy from District 2 is a ruthless killing machine." (Suzanne Collins, _The Hunger Games_)
Are you a word wiz?

Where do you think the word "ruthless" comes from?

The medieval English word "ruthe" means "compassion or pity," and it gave us the Modern English word "ruth," which means the same thing. In the 1500s, this noun "ruth" was given the adjective suffix "-less" and the adjective "ruthless" was born. Use of "ruthless" took off, and it is now much more common than its root word, "ruth."
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