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Picture of Kalleh
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Does "ruth" or "ruthless" come from Ruth in the Bible? I've not seen that when I have read about its etymology. Etymology online and OED online say its origins are from 1327, and etymology online says it's from reuthe, meaning "pity, compassion." Yet, couldn't that have come from Ruth in the Bible? I also wonder why "ruthful" has fallen out of use.
 
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Picture of Chris J. Strolin
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"What we need is a player who can hit 60 home runs a year," the manager said ruthlessly.

(Oh, hang on, wait a minute. That's a different thread. Sorry about that, I'm a bit out of practice here.)
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Yet, couldn't that have come from Ruth in the Bible?
I wonder if, in the early manuscripts, there were different spellings for 'Ruth' = Biblical name and 'ruth' = compassion. If so, that would tend to evidence that the latter did not come from the former.

According to OED, 'ruth' meaning compassion was written row*e or rew*e (here I use the * to represent a thorn-character, which this board's software won't support). By the time 'ruthless' appeared the thorn was replaced by th. I can't find the old spelling for the Ruth the name.
 
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It's just the abstract noun of 'rue' = regret, as 'truth' and 'troth' are from 'trow' = believe, or indeed 'youth', 'length' etc.

The Middle English was indeed rew-, the Old English hrew-, and the Norse hryg-, so it's an ancient root. The Hebrew Ruth would have been rendered Ruth or perhaps Rut throughout.
 
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According to this page, the meaning of "Ruth" as a name is "compassionate friend".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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There is no way you can get any part of "compassionate friend" out of the Hebrew (or in fact Moabite, as she was) monosyllable Rut.
 
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Picture of Caterwauller
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My sister would say "That person is completely without ruth."

She's funny with language.


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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aput, I completely agree with you when you say, "There is no way you can get any part of "compassionate friend" out of the Hebrew (or in fact Moabite, as she was) monosyllable Rut." Hebrew is not given to monosyllables.

However, that said, the author of the Book of Ruth clearly chose most of the names used as allegories. He even has Naomi comment on the meaning of her name, saying, "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me." ['mara' = bitterness]. The names used could not all be real names, for some of them are extremely negative, the kind of thing a parent would never name a child.

Websites differ on the exact meaning of each name, including "Ruth". Quoting one site:
    Elimelech: my God is king
    Mahlon: sickness (This character dies prematurely.)
    Chilion: consumption (Also dies prematurely)
    Boaz: in him is strength (the hero)
    Naomi: my pleasantness
    Orpah: her neck (another site says 'back of the neck'; Orpah turns her back on Naomi)
    Ruth: beauty or satisfied
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Ruth: ... satisfied[/LIST]


So when that hideously ugly noise maker moaned, "I don't get no satisfaction," he was saying by way of double negative that he was getting it on with Ruth?
 
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Those meanings look right on what I know: el-i melek 'god-my king', b-o 'in-him', na`m-i 'pleasant-my', -ah 'her', so the rest look trustworthy. Although Hebrew words are usually based on three-consonant roots, there are some basic monosyllables; also, /rut/ could come from the stem /r-w-t/ where the weak middle consonant becomes a vowel in some forms.

My (one-way) dictionary doesn't have anything suitable under 'beauty', though it could well be under a similar word and I just can't find it; for 'satisfy' there's the verb /rawwê/, and that's just what's needed to give a derived form /rut/, so I'm satisfied too.
 
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