[ jen-tl ]
See synonyms for: gentlegentledgentlesgentling on

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.

  1. moderate: gentle heat.

  2. gradual: a gentle slope.

  3. of good birth or family; wellborn.

  4. characteristic of good birth; honorable; respectable: a gentle upbringing.

  5. easily handled or managed; tractable: a gentle animal.

  6. soft or low: a gentle sound.

  7. polite; refined: Consider, gentle reader, my terrible predicament at this juncture.

  8. entitled to a coat of arms; armigerous.

  9. Archaic. noble; chivalrous: a gentle knight.

verb (used with object),gen·tled, gen·tling.
  1. to tame; render tractable.

  2. to mollify; calm; pacify.

  1. to make gentle.

  2. to stroke; soothe by petting.

  3. to ennoble; dignify.

Origin of gentle

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English gentle, gentil(e), from Old French gentil “highborn, noble,” from Latin gentīlis “belonging to the same family,” equivalent to gent- (stem of gēns ) gens + -īlis -le

synonym study For gentle

1. 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.

Other words for gentle

Opposites for gentle

Other words from gentle

  • gen·tle·ness, noun
  • gen·tly, adverb
  • o·ver·gen·tle, adjective
  • un·gen·tle, adjective
  • un·gen·tle·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use gentle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gentle


/ (ˈdʒɛntəl) /

  1. having a mild or kindly nature or character

  2. soft or temperate; mild; moderate: a gentle scolding

  1. gradual: a gentle slope

  2. easily controlled; tame: a gentle horse

  3. archaic of good breeding; noble: gentle blood

  4. archaic gallant; chivalrous

  1. to tame or subdue (a horse)

  2. to appease or mollify

  1. obsolete to ennoble or dignify

  1. a maggot, esp when used as bait in fishing

  2. archaic a person who is of good breeding

Origin of gentle

C13: from Old French gentil noble, from Latin gentīlis belonging to the same family; see gens

Derived forms of gentle

  • gently, adverb

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