[ 1 syll. rut(h), ru-th ] The baby girl name Ruth is pronounced in English as RUW-TH or in German as RUWT †. Ruth's language of origin is Hebrew. It is predominantly used in the English, German, and Scandinavian languages. It is a biblical name derived from the word rea meaning 'friend, companion, neighbor'. The name is of obscure meaning. It was borne in the Bible by the wife of Boaz and great-grandmother of David; her story was told in the Book of Ruth. The name has traditionally been used by Jews. It was later associated with 'sympathy' and 'compassion', which probably boosted its adoption among English Puritans in the 17th century.
The name Ruth is widely used; it has 28 derivatives that are used in English and foreign languages. Derivatives of the name used in English include Rooth, Routh, Rutha, Ruthana, Ruthane, Ruthann, Ruthanna, Ruthanne, Ruthella, Ruthelle, Ruthellen, Ruthetta, Ruthey, Ruthi, Ruthia, Ruthina, Ruthine, Ruthy, and Ruti. The short forms Roo and Rue, the familiar form Ruthie, and the variant spelling Ruthe are other English forms.
See also the related form, the German Ilseruth.
Ruth is an all-time favorite. Today it is still a rather popular baby girl name, but not as much as it was in the past. Its usage peaked in 1915 with 2.137% of baby girls being given the name Ruth. It was #5 in rank then. The baby name has steeply fallen in popularity since then, and it is of only modest use in recent years. In 2012, it ranked at #344 with a usage of 0.048%, but it was nonetheless the most frequently used among all girl names in its family. The name Ruth has been primarily given to girls, although it has also been used as a boy name in the last century. In 1939, 182 times more girls than boys were given the name Ruth.
† Pronunciation for Ruth: R as in "race (R.EY.S)" ; UW as in "two (T.UW)" ; TH as in "theme (TH.IY.M)" ; T as in "tee (T.IY)"
A famous person named Ruth is Ruth Orkin, Photographer, born 3 September 1921 - 16 January 1985, Boston, Massachusetts.