Rue the Day

Meaning

What does Rue the Day mean?

Rue the day refers to a popular idiomatic phrase, used for warning others that they’re going to regret a decision they have made – or rather curse the day they made it.

It can be easily deflected with the phlegmatic commonplace: I Regret Nothing.

Origin

What's the origin of Rue the Day?

Although many attribute the phrase “Rue the day” to William Shakespeare, the term “rue” was already a commonly used word in Middle English in the titular sense by the 13th century.

“Rue” itself originates from the Old English word “hreowan” meaning to make someone sorry.

The word itself appears in the works of Shakespeare in several forms: “Rue the tears”, “Rue the time” or “Rue the hour”, although “Rue the day” itself never occurs.

Instead, the first documented case of the phrase appearing in print comes from Matthew Kellison’s “Paraphrasical and Devout Discourses upon the Psalme Miserere” which was published in 1635.

Spread & Usage

How did Rue the Day spread?

Since the 17th century, “Rue the day” has grown into a widely known and recognized colloquialism, especially common in literature and drama, due to its prophetic undertone.

Its popularity reached its pinnacle in the 19th century, and since then it has been growing less popular, due to the fact that it is considered archaic for most situations.

Today, it is mostly seen in extreme cases, with enough weight to support such a serious prophetic expression, or most of the time “Rue the day” is used with a slight undertone of humor, while it may also be found as the inspiration for the title of works of art, such as poems, motion pictures or even songs.

It was first defined on Urban Dictionary on November 1st, 2009.

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