rue (n.1)

perennial evergreen shrub, late 14c., from Old French rue (13c.), earlier rude, from Latin ruta "rue," probably from Greek rhyte, of uncertain etymology, originally a Peloponnesian word. The bitter taste of its leaves led to many punning allusions to rue (n.2.).

rue (n.2)

"sorrow, repentance," Old English hreow "grief, repentance, sorrow, regret, penitence," common Germanic (Frisian rou, Middle Dutch rou, Dutch rouw, Old High German (h)riuwa, German reue), related to the root of rue (v.).

rue (n.3)

French for "street," from Vulgar Latin *ruga (source also of Old Italian ruga, Spanish rua "street in a village"), from Latin ruga, properly "a furrow," then in Medieval Latin "a path, street," from PIE root *reue- (2) "to smash, knock down, tear out, dig up" (see rough (adj.)).

rue (v.)

"feel regret," Old English hreowan "make sorry, distress, grieve" (class II strong verb; past tense hreaw, past participle hrowen), from Proto-Germanic *khrewan (source also of Old Frisian riowa, Middle Dutch rouwen, Old Dutch hrewan, German reuen "to sadden, cause repentance"); in part, blended with Old English weak verb hreowian "feel pain or sorrow," and perhaps influenced by Old Norse hryggja "make sad," both from Proto-Germanic *khruwjan, all from PIE root *kreue- (2) "to push, strike" (see anacrusis). Related: Rued; ruing.