gentle

[jen-tl]
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adjective, gen·tler, gen·tlest.
  1. kindly; amiable: a gentle manner.
  2. not severe, rough, or violent; mild: a gentle wind; a gentle tap on the shoulder.
  3. moderate: gentle heat.
  4. gradual: a gentle slope.
  5. of good birth or family; wellborn.
  6. characteristic of good birth; honorable; respectable: a gentle upbringing.
  7. easily handled or managed; tractable: a gentle animal.
  8. soft or low: a gentle sound.
  9. polite; refined: Consider, gentle reader, my terrible predicament at this juncture.
  10. entitled to a coat of arms; armigerous.
  11. Archaic. noble; chivalrous: a gentle knight.
verb (used with object), gen·tled, gen·tling.
  1. to tame; render tractable.
  2. to mollify; calm; pacify.
  3. to make gentle.
  4. to stroke; soothe by petting.
  5. to ennoble; dignify.

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

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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. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for gentleness

gentleness

noun
  1. the quality of being gentle
  2. physics a property of elementary particles, conserved in certain strong interactionsSee also charm 1 (def. 7)

gentle

adjective
  1. having a mild or kindly nature or character
  2. soft or temperate; mild; moderatea gentle scolding
  3. graduala gentle slope
  4. easily controlled; tamea gentle horse
  5. archaic of good breeding; noblegentle blood
  6. archaic gallant; chivalrous
verb (tr)
  1. to tame or subdue (a horse)
  2. to appease or mollify
  3. obsolete to ennoble or dignify
noun
  1. a maggot, esp when used as bait in fishing
  2. 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 gentleness
n.

c.1300, "inherited nature," from gentle + -ness. Meaning "freedom from harshness and violence" is from 1610s.

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