Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Ruth

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Hebrew
  • Number of syllables:
  • 1
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 329
Simple meaning:
Friend, companion

Characteristics of Ruth

  • Dependable
  • Solid
  • Practical
  • Hard-working
  • Industrious
  • Studious
  • Conservative

Etymology & Historical Origin - Ruth

Ruth is an ancient Biblical name, from the Hebrew “re'ut” meaning ‘friend, companion’. Both Ruth and Esther are notable for being the only women with their own Books in the Bible (in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible). Ruth is one of the Bible’s great heroines and particularly venerated among Jewish people. Her story takes place during one of the great famines in Israel. In a nut shell, Ruth (a Moabite) is the daughter-in-law of Naomi (who, with her family, arrived in Moab in search of food). After some time, both women are widowed and alone, so Naomi decides to return to her original home in Bethlehem (where apparently there is now the promise of food). Naomi tells both Ruth and her other daughter-in-law (Orpah) to return to their mother’s houses. Orpah returns home, but Ruth insists on staying with Naomi. The two thus embark upon one of those interesting Biblical adventures. Upon reaching Bethlehem, the two women find a land-owning relative of Naomi’s (Boaz) who allows them to scavenger for kernel scraps after the harvest of his land. Ruth uses her feminine wiles to grab Boaz’s favorable attention and Naomi quickly sees this as an opportunity for their future. She coaches Ruth on the ancient parlor pick-up tactics, and Ruth succeeds (old man Boaz is thrilled by her interest in him). Only problem: there’s another “kinsmen redeemer” more closely related to Ruth’s dead husband and he has dibs on her first. This other guy decides to take a pass on Ruth once he learns that the package also includes the old mother-in-law. Ceremoniously, the man removes his sandal and hands it to Boaz – basically an ancient gesture of his pledge to step aside. Boaz and Ruth happily marry and conceive a son, Obed. Naomi is cared for by her former daughter-in-law and helps to raise Obed. Why is this important? For one, Obed begat Jesse and Jesse begat David, considered the greatest King of Israel. Secondly, it’s a happily-ever-after story and thirdly, it’s a moving story of loyalty and love. No, I’m not talking about between Ruth and Boaz. It’s about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi (arguably the most successful mother/daughter-in-law story in the history of mankind). Ruth is a ‘friend’ and a ‘companion’ to Naomi, refusing to leave her side – this act alone helped to perpetuate the genealogy of the great Israelite people…right down to Jesus Christ (who was descended from David). This is probably why the Christians adopted the name Ruth for themselves during the Protestant Reformation.

Popularity of the Name Ruth

In the year 1900, Ruth was the #5 most popular girl’s name in the United States. Just as President Obama has influenced the popularity of Sasha and Malia, Ruth had a similar experience. She was pushed up the charts in 1891 when former U.S. President Grover Cleveland named his first daughter “Baby” Ruth Cleveland. From the years 1892 up through 1930 – for 40 straight years – Ruth was a Top 10 choice for American parents of baby girls. The name would also remain on the Top 100 list until 1962. The latter half of the 20th century marked the beginning of the end for this ‘friendly’ name. Ruth has slowly but surely retreated from favor and back to levels of relative moderation. It’s one of those names that is no longer fashionable – almost painfully so. Unlike Olivia, Emma, Lillian and Evelyn, the old-fashioned Ruth hasn’t fared as well during the current naming trend that seems to favor stylish names of yore. No, unfortunately, Ruth remains at the “old-lady” table alongside Florence, Ethel, Bertha and Mildred. But we dare say that Ruth is so unfashionable today that it’s actually super cool and contrarian. Out of all the native English speaking countries, it’s ranked highest in Ireland. Ruth was a wonderfully loyal companion to Naomi in the Bible, and so her name is one we wouldn’t mind keeping closely by our side!
Popularity of the Girl Name Ruth
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Ruth

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Ruth

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Ruth

    Ruth Connors (The Lovely Bones) Ruth Connors is the sensitive, poetic teen-aged girl touched by Susie Salmon’s departing soul in Alice Sebold’s 2002 best-seller, The Lovely Bones, which was made into a 2009 movie. Ruth is a clear opposite of the living Susie – she has a dark outlook and viewpoint of the world, unlike the rosier environment with which the universe had gifted Susie. Ruth becomes a magnetic draw for Susie from the Other Side, as Susie strives to reconnect with the life that had so abruptly been ended for her. Eventually, Susie breaks through and, for a brief time, is able to inhabit Ruth’s body and to experience the joy of union with her erstwhile boyfriend, Ray. Finally, Susie comes to realize that it is time for her to move further on in her own journey, away from the earthbound family whose fates have so entranced her. Young Ruth, after her own entanglement in the ethereal world, becomes a visionary and a dedicated crusader for the rights of female victims of violent crime.

    Ruth Foster Dead (Song of Solomon) Ruth Dead is a character in Toni Morrison’s 1977 bestseller, Song of Solomon. Ruth is the mother of the protagonist, Macon “Milkman” Dead III, a young African American man. Ruth was the daughter of the town’s only black physician, whom she loved to excess and for whom she endlessly mourns. Trapped in a loveless marriage to a man who is emotionally abusive to her, and supported largely by her husband’s indomitable sister, Pilate, it may be argued that Ruth is a rather ineffectual cipher of a woman. This is a woman, however, who stands up to that abusive husband when he tries to force her to abort the child who will become her beloved son. In her own quiet way, she goes about her life honoring exactly what is precious to her against all odds.

    Ruth Leonard (Rabbit, Run) Ruth Leonard is a character in John Updike’s acclaimed 1960 novel, Rabbit, Run, first of the four novels featuring his protagonist, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ruth is an atheistic, humorous, part-time prostitute who becomes Rabbit’s lover and is impregnated by him, only to be casually dumped as he returns to his own pregnant wife. Not a good time in the history of womankind to be a single mother, a prostitute, an atheist – any of the above. Ruth, however, decides to forge ahead with her pregnancy on her own, and tells the groveling Rabbit to get lost unless he wants to commit to her. For this she earns our undying regard.

    Ruth Younger (A Raisin in the Sun) Ruth Younger is the wife in Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 groundbreaking play, A Raisin in the Sun. Ruth is emblematic of young black women in the 1950s, in that not only is she placed in a position of subservience to her (less intelligent) husband, she must also pay respect to a society that regards her as less than a fully realized human being. Toiling as a domestic in white women’s houses, she scarcely has enough energy to run a household for her own family. The financial exigencies of their lives force the Youngers into constant compromises and internal bickering. When Ruth realizes she is pregnant with another child, she temporarily considers abortion as a solution. Ruth, however, is made of stern stuff, and ultimately weighs in on the side of valiantly striving for a better life for the entire family. Somehow, she reasons, they will make it – she loves her husband and child and, although naturally pessimistic, she opts to believe that their commitment to each other will help them to succeed in a white-dominated world.

  • Popular Songs on Ruth

    Popular Songs on Ruth

    Amanda Ruth - a song by Rank and File

    Beekeeper Seeks Ruth - a song by Guided By Voices

    Naomi Gonna Be with Ruth - a song by ApologetiX

    Rose and a Baby Ruth - a song by George Hamilton IV

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Ruth

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Ruth

    Ruth and the Green Book (Calvin Alexander Ramsey) - Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family's new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren't treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to black people. Daddy was upset about something called Jim Crow laws...Finally, a friendly attendant at a gas station showed Ruth's family The Green Book. It listed all of the places that would welcome black travelers. With this guidebook--and the kindness of strangers--Ruth could finally make a safe journey from Chicago to her grandma's house in Alabama. Ruth's story is fiction, but The Green Book and its role in helping a generation of African American travelers avoid some of the indignities of Jim Crow are historical fact. Recommended for ages 6-10.

    The Story Of Ruth (Maxine Rose Schur) - The Library School Jornal says: This retelling of the complicated Bible story begins with Elimelech and Naomi's journey to Moab due to the famine in Judah and continues with the marriage of Kilion and Mahlon to Moabite women. After the death of her husband and both of her sons, Naomi returns to her homeland. Her daughter-in-law Ruth decides to join her: For wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your god, my God. Ruth's courtship with Boaz is included along with the account of the birth of their son Obed, grandfather of David, the first king of Israel. Recommended for ages 7-10.

  • Famous People Named Ruth

    Famous People Named Ruth

    Famous People Named Ruth - Ruth Buzzi (comedienne); Ruth Bader Ginsburg (U.S. Supreme Court Justice); Ruth Westheimer (writer, sex therapist "Dr. Ruth"); Ruth Abrams (artist) ; Ruth Anderson (artist); Ruth Baetz (writer); Ruth Behar (writer); Ruth Behrens (writer); Ruth Benedict (anthropologist); Ruth Brown (singer); Babe Ruth (baseball great)

  • Children of Famous People Named Ruth

    Children of Famous People Named Ruth

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Ruth - Eric Clapton (musician); Grover Cleveland (U.S. President); Bruno Bettelheim (psychologist)

  • Historic Figures

    Ruth - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Ruth - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Ruth.

Personality of the Girl Name Ruth

The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature.  They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.

Variations of the Baby Name - Ruth

  • No Variations Found.
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