Ruth Name Meaning

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What Does Ruth Mean?

Looking for a classic old-fashioned name for your baby girl? You can’t go wrong with the name Ruth, which also has a strong biblical backstory.

Ruth is predominantly a girl name of Hebrew origin, meaning “friend,” “friendship,” or “compassionate friend.”

It is derived from the Hebrew word re’ut, meaning “friend.”

The name is the central character in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, which is one of only two books named after a woman. The biblical Ruth was an ancestor of King David and the daughter-in-law of Naomi. After the death of her husband, Ruth accompanied her mother-in-law back to Bethlehem when she famously spoke the words, “Whither thou goest, I will go.”

  • Origin: Ruth is of Hebrew origin, meaning "friend," "friendship," or "compassionate friend."
  • Gender: The name Ruth is commonly used as a girl name.
  • Pronunciation: ruth

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular Is the Name Ruth? 

The name Ruth has a long history, being popular since the 1500s in Europe and the British Isles. The name was introduced to the United States in the 1800s and got an enormous boost in popularity in 1891 with the birth of Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of President Grover Cleveland.

By 1900, the name was properly ensconced at No.5 in the Top 10 names in the United States, according to the Social Security Administration 2020 data.

For another 30 years, the name remained in the Top 10 names. Its popularity waned, but only slightly, with Ruth in the Top 50 names till 1950. It continued to feature in the Top 100 till 1961, after which the name started losing its shine till 2014. From 2015 to 2020, the name featured in the Top 300 names.

Name Variations

The following are the variations of the name Ruth:

  • Reut, Rut (Hebrew) 
  • Rhouth (Biblical Greek) 
  • Ruf (Russian) 
  • Rút (Czech) 
  • Rút (Slovak)
  • Rut (Spanish, Swedish, Icelandic)
  • Ruta (Latvian, Polish) 
  • Rūta (Lithuanian) 
  • Rute (Portuguese) 
  • Ruthanne (English)
  • Ruthia (English)
  • Ruthie (English)
  • Ruthina (English)
  • Rutt (Estonian) 
  • Ruut (Finnish) 

Similar Names

Old-fashioned girl names like Ruth:

  • Alice
  • Candice
  • Daisy
  • Eleanor
  • Heidi
  • Ingrid
  • Iris
  • Jane
  • Martha
  • Pearl
  • Rose
  • Wendy

Other biblical girl names:

  • Anna
  • Deborah
  • Esther
  • Hannah
  • Keziah
  • Myra
  • Naomi
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca
  • Sarah

Other girl names starting with R:

  • Raelyn
  • Raina
  • Reese
  • Rihanna
  • Riley
  • Riya
  • Rosalee
  • Rosemary
  • Rowena
  • Ruby

Suggested Sibling Names

Looking for a sibling name for Ruth? Here are some popular options:

  • Abigail
  • Ada
  • Arthur
  • Cora
  • Edward
  • Kate
  • Lewis
  • Sebastian
  • Tabitha
  • Tobias

Famous People Named Ruth

There are many notable namesakes named Ruth, from 1887-born American anthropologist Ruth Benedict, American singer and actress Ruth Mae Terry, to the inventor of the Toll House Cookie, Ruth Wakefield. The name Ruth has been associated with American sculptor Ruth Asawa, Canadian basketball player Ruth Davis, and British-American novelist Ruth Jhabvala.

Famous Ruths:

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, American lawyer and an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 to 2020.
  • Ruth Brown, American singer and actress, known for a series of hit songs in the 1950s and an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • Ruth Buzzi, American actress, comedian, and singer best known for her performances on the show “Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.” 
  • Ruth Manning-Sanders, Welsh-born English poet and author, known for a series of children's books such as "The Book of Giants,” and “Tales of Magic and Mystery.”
  • Ruth Rendell, English author known for murder mysteries and thrillers, and is the creator of Chief Inspector Wexford, a recurring character in her books.
  • Ruth Wilson, English actress known for her award-winning roles in the plays “Anna Christie,” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options: 

Top 1,000 Baby Girl Names in the U.S.

100 Biblical Baby Names

100 Flower and Plant Baby Names

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name Ruth.

By Meena Azzollini
Meena Azzollini is a health and wellness content creator with experience covering parenting, women's health, and mental health. She specializes in creating effective content for various health and wellness-based businesses and empowers them with words that make a connection with their audience.