Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having no compassion or pity; merciless: ruthless cruelty; ruthless opportunism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Without pity or compassion; cruel, pitiless.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having no ruth; cruel; pitiless.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having no ruth or pity; cruel; pitiless; barbarous; insensible to the miseries of others.
  • Unmodified or unrestrained by pity; marked by unfaltering rigor; relentless; merciless: as, ruthless severity.
  • Synonyms Unpitying, hard-hearted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. without mercy or pity

Etymologies

ruth +‎ -less (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Over Microsoft's formative years when they redefined the term ruthless, my friends and I worked for several startup and small companies that were crushed by Microsoft which they then bought for pennies on the dollar.

    LXer Linux News

  • David Petraeus, the coalition's commander in Afghanistan, issued a rare apology Wednesday for a helicopter strike that killed nine children, hours after Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the allies for launching what he called a "ruthless attack."

    Coalition Apologizes for Deaths of Afghan Children

  • President Hamid Karzai swiftly condemned what he described as a "ruthless act of terror to target innocent people who had gathered for a religious ceremony," saying the bombing exposed the "vile and vicious nature of the enemy who do not want to see the Muslim people of Afghanistan to perform even their Islamic rituals."

    Afghan Bombing Kills at Least 19, Including Lawmaker

  • He said the world should show the same determination in dealing with Iran, which he described as a ruthless dictatorship.

    Libyan Unrest Tops Agenda at Israeli Cabinet Meeting

  • The previous death toll for children was 307, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said on December 2, denouncing what she called "ruthless repression" by Syrian forces.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Wales capain, who turns 23 on Wednesday, said: The word 'ruthless' has been drilled into the boys for the last few weeks.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • In 2009 Biller countersued, accusing Toyota of violating racketeering laws in what he termed a ruthless conspiracy and relentless effort to prevent evidence of its vehicles'

    chicagotribune.com - News

  • Somewhat reminiscent of his father's trademark bushy moustache, Earnhardt enters 2010 with a Paul Bunyan-esque beard ( "just got tired of shaving") and an Intimidator-esque vow to be "ruthless from the first lap to the last" by being more aggressive and proactive making sure his car is capable of winning.

    Return to form for Earnhardt Jr. could rev NASCAR's fortunes

  • "Where he's most ruthless is when you see him dragging three people behind him that he went out and was hired to hunt down as a bounty hunter," Brolin says.

    This summer's movie bad guys have really got the goods

  • Tony Benn, a stalwart defender of the gains of the working class, is described as a "ruthless destroyer", while Margaret Thatcher is "positively pragmatic" compared with the current government.

    Letters: Why the Labour party lost in 1983

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