From a Hebrew name which was derived from the Hebrew word רְעוּת (re'ut)
meaning "friend". This is the name of the central character in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament
. She was a Moabite woman who accompanied her mother-in-law Naomi
back to Bethlehem after Ruth's husband died. There she met and married Boaz
. She was an ancestor of King David
As a Christian name, Ruth
has been in use since the Protestant Reformation
. It became very popular in America following the birth of "Baby" Ruth Cleveland (1891-1904), the daughter of President Grover Cleveland.