gentle

[jen-tl]

adjective, gen·tler, gen·tlest.

verb (used with object), gen·tled, gen·tling.


Origin of gentle

1175–1225; Middle English gentle, gentil(e) < Old French gentil highborn, noble < Latin gentīlis belonging to the same family, equivalent to gent- (stem of gēns) gens + -īlis -le
Related formsgen·tle·ness, noungen·tly, adverbo·ver·gen·tle, adjectiveo·ver·gen·tly, adverbun·gen·tle, adjectiveun·gen·tle·ness, nounun·gen·t·ly, adverb

Synonyms for gentle

1. clement, peaceful, pacific, soothing; tender, humane, lenient, merciful. Gentle, meek, mild refer to an absence of bad temper or belligerence. Gentle has reference especially to disposition and behavior, and often suggests a deliberate or voluntary kindness or forbearance in dealing with others: a gentle pat; gentle with children. Meek implies a submissive spirit, and may even indicate undue submission in the face of insult or injustice: meek and even servile or weak. Mild suggests absence of harshness or severity, rather because of natural character or temperament than conscious choice: a mild rebuke; a mild manner. 3. temperate. 5. noble. 7. manageable, docile, tame, quiet. 9. courteous; polished.

Antonyms for gentle

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for gentle

Contemporary Examples of gentle

Historical Examples of gentle

  • A gentle strain of music, scarcely audible, seemed to make reply.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • On a rock, amid the roaring water, Lies Cassiopea's gentle daughter.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • Uncle Jasper, who had a quiet voice and gentle manners, now stood rigid.

  • She was like the falling of this starlight, pure, aloof, and strange and gentle.

  • Attempted fratricide is not a common happening in gentle families.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke


British Dictionary definitions for gentle

gentle

adjective

having a mild or kindly nature or character
soft or temperate; mild; moderatea gentle scolding
graduala gentle slope
easily controlled; tamea gentle horse
archaic of good breeding; noblegentle blood
archaic gallant; chivalrous

verb (tr)

to tame or subdue (a horse)
to appease or mollify
obsolete to ennoble or dignify

noun

a maggot, esp when used as bait in fishing
archaic a person who is of good breeding
Derived Formsgently, adverb

Word Origin for gentle

C13: from Old French gentil noble, from Latin gentīlis belonging to the same family; see gens
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gentle
adj.

early 13c., "well-born," from Old French gentil "high-born, noble, of good family" (11c., in Modern French "nice, graceful, pleasing; fine pretty"), from Latin gentilis "of the same family or clan," from gens (genitive gentis) "race, clan," from root of gignere "beget," from PIE root *gen- "produce" (see genus). Sense of "gracious, kind" (now obsolete) first recorded late 13c.; that of "mild, tender" is 1550s. Older sense remains in gentleman.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper