Origin of ruthfulMiddle English reuthful
- Full of sorrow; rueful.
- Causing sorrow or pity.
(comparative more ruthful, superlative most ruthful)
- (causing pity): Unlike the other senses, which describe the person acting or the motivation behind an act, this sense is used to describe the effect of an action or circumstance. Thus, it is easily confused with the complementary term ruthless: a ruthless person (one lacking pity) may perform acts or bring about circumstances which are ruthful (cause or induce feelings of pity).
From Middle English reuthful, reowthful, equivalent to ruth +"Ž -ful.