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Definition of 'ruthless'

Marked by a complete lack of compassion, empathy, or remorse when it comes to achieving goals or dealing with others.
"The ruthless dictator showed no mercy to his opponents."

Detailed Meaning of 'ruthless'

When someone or something is characterized as 'ruthless,' it signifies a relentless and unyielding pursuit of objectives, often without regard for ethical or moral principles. This term emphasizes the willingness to use any means, no matter how harsh or cruel, to accomplish one's aims, often at the expense of others' well-being or rights. To label someone as 'ruthless' suggests a calculated and cold-hearted approach to decision-making, where the individual's ambition or agenda takes precedence over considerations of fairness or empathy, making it a term laden with negative connotations.


Examples of 'ruthless' in a Sentence

1. The ruthless CEO laid off hundreds of employees to cut costs, prioritizing profits over people.
2. Her ruthless ambition led her to undermine her colleagues in order to climb the corporate ladder.
3. The movie portrays a ruthless gangster who will stop at nothing to maintain his criminal empire.
4. In the cutthroat world of fashion, designers can be ruthless in their pursuit of originality.
5. Critics argue that the company's ruthless tactics violate antitrust laws, stifling market competition.
6. The ruthless general ordered his troops to show no mercy, causing international human rights concerns.

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Origins & Etymology of 'ruthless'

The adjective 'ruthless' has its etymological roots in the Old English word 'rūðlēas,' which can be broken down into 'rū,' meaning 'compassion' or 'pity,' and 'lēas,' meaning 'lacking' or 'without.' In its original form, 'rūðlēas' meant lacking compassion or pity, indicating a lack of mercy or remorse. Over time, this term transitioned into 'ruthless' in modern English, retaining its fundamental meaning of being marked by a complete lack of compassion, empathy, or remorse, especially when it comes to achieving one's goals or dealing with others. The etymology of 'ruthless' emphasizes the absence of empathy and kindness, highlighting a disposition that is uncompromising and unfeeling in the pursuit of objectives or interactions with others.

How to pronounce ruthless (audio)


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