- Meaning: Stemming from the Hebrew word “re’ut,” Ruth means compassionate friend or companion.
- Gender: Ruth is conventionally a female name.
- Origin: Ruth is found in the Old Testament, specifically in the Book of Ruth.
- Pronunciation: “Rooth” and rhymes with “tooth.”
- Popularity: A reasonably popular name in the present day, ranking 189 in 2021 by the US Social Security Administration.
- Nicknames: Rue, Roo, Ruti.
- Variations: Ruthi (Hebrew), Ruta (Polish, Ukrainian), Ruthie (English)
- Namesakes: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
What Does Ruth Mean?
The name Ruth has Hebrew origins and can mean friend, companion, and compassionate friend (1). It stems from the Hebrew word “re’ut,” which roughly translates to the same meaning.
Given its biblical history of being referenced in the old testament, Ruth has been around for quite some time, seeing spikes of popularity in Europe around the 1500s and in America in the 1800s.
What Is the Origin of the Name Ruth?
Ruth is the name of the lead character in the Book of Ruth, found in the third division of the Hebrew bible.
The Book of Ruth tells the story of a Moabite woman affectionately named Ruth, who accepts Yahweh, also known as the Israelite God. It portrays themes of loyalty and devotion through her dedication to her stepmother.
Many Jews read the book of Ruth throughout the Jewish holiday Shavuot, which marks the wheat harvest in Israel.
How Popular Is the Name Ruth?
Ruth has been a generally popular female name in Europe for over 500 years and one of the higher ranking names in the United States since the 1900s.
While Ruth had made its way before the 19th century, it saw an immense rise in notoriety due to President Grover Cleveland’s daughter being named Ruth Cleveland.
Ruth had remained immensely popular, especially in 2021, when it was ranked 189 by the US Social Security website (2). This is the highest-ranking it’s been in over 20 years, and numbers indicate that its popularity is exponentially increasing.
How Do I Pronounce Ruth?
Ruth is pronounced “rooth,” similar to how you would enunciate “tooth” or “booth.”
Is Ruth a Boy or Girl Name?
Ruth is predominately a female name, seldomly used for males.
Variations of Ruth
Assuming the mantle of a name that is centuries old, Ruth has many variations stemming from both the original Hebrew word and the modern interpretation.
Here are some of the most frequently used Ruth variations:
- Rufa (Russian)
- Rut (German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish)
- Rūta (Latvian, Lithuanian)
- Ruta (Polish, Ukrainian)
- Rute (Portuguese)
- Ruthanne (English)
- Ruthi (Hebrew)
- Ruthia (English)
- Ruthie (English)
- Ruthina (English)
- Ruthine (English)
- Ruut (Finnish, Estonian)
- Tutti (Hebrew)
Nicknames for Ruth
Ruth is a pretty short name by itself, so you can expect the nicknames to get a bit crafty in terms of what you might expect. The most common nickname is Rue.
Here are a few other popular nicknames for Ruth:
Similar Names to Ruth
Given its widespread popularity and simplicity, many names are similar to Ruth. These names may be old-fashioned, biblical, have a related meaning, or are similarly pronounced to Ruth.
Some other names you might find are:
Middle Names for Ruth
Ruth has excellent synergy with many other names, making it a perfect first name. Here are some of the best middle names to pair with Ruth:
Sibling Names for Ruth
If you’re looking for sibling names that go well with Ruth, look no further because these are some of the best ones.
For a Brother:
For a Sister:
Famous People Named Ruth
When people think of well-known figures named Ruth, the first person that probably comes to mind isn’t your typical celebrity, actor, or musician. It’s Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (3).
Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the court and the first Jewish woman to serve. She served from 1993 until she died in 2020.
Other famous Ruths include:
- Ruth Moschner: A well-known German TV personality and writer.
- Ruth Pointer: American R&B singer-songwriter and the eldest of the Pointer Sisters.
- Ruth Wilson: An English actress best known for her performance in the movie Jane Eyre.
Ruth in Popular Culture
Ruth is a somewhat infrequent yet still present name in pop culture. Here are a few prevalent occurrences of fictional characters with the name Ruth:
- Ruth: A dragon in Anne McCaffrey’s novel series Dragonriders of Pern.
- Ruth Camden: Character in the American family drama 7th Heaven.
- Ruth Galloway: The protagonist of a novel series by Ellys Griffit titled Ruth Galloway.
Here are some commonly asked questions around the web about the name Ruth: