Recently, two listeners, including one named Ruth, asked us what's going on with "ruthless." For starters, a ruthless action is one that's clearly without ruth, but can an action also be full of ruth?
The answer is yes, something can be ruthful, but here's a better question -- have you ever actually used that word?
There's no need to be ruthful if your answer is no. In the Corpus of Contemporary American English, there are over 2,000 instances of "ruthless" and zero instances of "ruthful."
But ruthful wasn't always such a pariah.