Ruth: Meaning, Popularity, Origin of Baby Name Ruth
Origin of the name Ruth:
Of uncertain etymology, most believe Ruth to be derived from the Hebrew rūth, a possible contraction of rē'ūth (companion, friend). The name is borne in the Bible by a Moabite woman who was devoted to her mother-in-law. Her story is told in the Book of Ruth.
Looking for more name information? Get Name MatchMaker & more Expert name-finding tools!
Sister & Brother Names
Know a Ruth? What are her siblings named?
Contribute your knowledge to the name Ruth
- Comments and insights on the name Ruth: | Edit
Ruth was not blessed with high position; she was common law married to a foreigner in time of famine. She survived her husband's death and respectfully did not obey her mother-in-law's advice to try to return home to her mother. Her sister-in-law did try to return to her parents. Ruth and Naomi walked back to Bethlehem. Ruth successfully picked through her mother-in-law's advice and used her own insight to survive in foreign culture.
She proved herself brave, intelligent, obedient, and generous to her first mother-in-law. So many fine strong qualities!
It is nice to have a Christian name that goes back to early Old Testament times. It is transcendent and ecumenical to have a name esteemed by Jews, Catholics and Protestants.
Don't use this name if you have any chance of moving to Hungary: rút means "ugly, hideous" in Hungarian, and since there's no 'th' sound in the language, Ruth would end up pronounced identically to the adjective...
- Personal experiences with the name Ruth: | Edit
Ruth is a very popular name among Christians in the USA, but when I was studying French in Europe, one of my teachers advised me (knowing I was a Gentile) never to name a child Ruth b/c everyone would think she was Jewish. That would not particularly bother me anyway, and when I moved on to French West Africa, I found that Ruth was very popular in the churches. (I ended up naming one of my daughters Ruthanne, actually).
My name is Ruth and when I visited in Texas in the 1980's and was introduced to someone he automatically responded, "oh you must be Jewish."
I have always loved being a Ruth. When I was a kid in the 80's, I was the only Ruth in any of my classes. Even though it was an "old fashioned" name, Ruthie was (and is) a great nickname to have. I also loved that my name was unusual but easy to spell and hard to mispronounce. Now if only I can bless my children with similarly unique yet familiar names.
- Nicknames for Ruth: | Edit
Roo/Rue, Ruthie, Ruthless, Ruthster, Dr. Ruth, Ruth/Ruthie-Rae/Lou/Sue/Ann(a)/Lee/Jo/Boo/Rue
- Meanings and history of the name Ruth: | Edit
From Hebrew, meaning "mercy".
- Famous real-life people named Ruth: | Edit
Ruth "Bette" Elizabeth Davis, actress
in the Old Testament's Book of Ruth, Ruth was a faithful daughter-in-law of Naomi. Ruth 1:16 says 'But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."' Ruth's son was part of the lineage of Christ.
Ruth Westheimer, known as "Dr. Ruth", media personality and sex therapist
Ruth Chatterton, actress
Ruth Roman, actress
Ruth Gordon, author and actress
Ruth Graham, writer and wife of evangelist Billy Graham
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, writer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice
Ruthie Henshall, actress, singer and dancer.
- Ruth in song, story & screen: | Edit
The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton, a Oprah Book Club pick
Ruth Jamison, beautiful gentle character in Fannie Flagg's book (and later film) "Fried Green Tomatoes".
In Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" series of books for young adults, a tough, clever, adventurous girl named Ruth hates her name and goes by Nancy instead - because Amazon pirates are supposed to be "ruthless."
Ruth McDougal, name of a 6th grade girl Arnold had a crush on in the 90's cartoon series "Hey Arnold"
Ruth "Ruthie" Camden, character on the TV show "7th Heaven", named after the Ruth in the Bible as well as her fraternal grandmother who is also named Ruth Camden.
Ruth (Ruthie), narrator and main character in Marilynne Robinson's 'Housekeeping' (novel and film by Bill Forsyth starring Christine Lahti),
Ruth Winters character in the TV show Casualty. Ruth is the girlfriend of Jay Faldren.