with great care or caution; warily.


cautious, careful, or wary.

Origin of gingerly

1510–20; ginger-, perhaps < Middle French gensor, genzor delicate, pretty, positive use of comparative of gent gentle; see -ly
Related formsgin·ger·li·ness, noun

Synonyms for gingerly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gingerly

Contemporary Examples of gingerly

Historical Examples of gingerly

  • Tobe set down the pitcher as gingerly as if it had been a soap-bubble.

  • Jed gingerly shook the extended hand and fled, his face scarlet.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "Medicine," the sergeant said, handing it gingerly to Stern.

    Martians Never Die

    Lucius Daniel

  • He stepped, when they alighted from the lift, as gingerly as though he trod on tacks.

  • Gingerly he picked it up, with a wild hope that it would be all right.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

British Dictionary definitions for gingerly



in a cautious, reluctant, or timid manner


cautious, reluctant, or timid
Derived Formsgingerliness, noun

Word Origin for gingerly

C16: perhaps from Old French gensor dainty, from gent of noble birth; see gentle
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 gingerly

1510s, "elegantly, daintily," perhaps from Old French gensor, comp. of gent "dainty, delicate," from Latin gentius "(well)-born" (see gentle). Meaning "extremely cautiously" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper