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adjective gen·tle \ˈjen-təl\

Simple Definition of gentle

  • : having or showing a kind and quiet nature : not harsh or violent

  • : not hard or forceful

  • : not strong or harsh in effect or quality

Full Definition of gentle

gen·tler play \ˈjent-lər, -təl-ər\ gen·tlest play \ˈjent-ləst, -təl-əst\

  1. 1 a :  belonging to a family of high social station b archaic :  chivalrous c :  honorable, distinguished; specifically :  of or relating to a gentleman d :  kind, amiable —used especially in address as a complimentary epithet <gentle reader> e :  suited to a person of high social station

  2. 2 a :  tractable, docile b :  free from harshness, sternness, or violence

  3. 3 :  soft, delicate

  4. 4 :  moderate

gent·ly play \ˈjent-lē\ adverb

Examples of gentle

  1. a dog that is gentle with children

  2. Your mother has a gentle manner.

  3. a gentle sense of humor

  4. I heard a gentle knock at the door.

  5. It's a delicate problem that requires gentle handling.

  6. The job requires a gentle touch.

  7. The cold snap was a gentle reminder that winter was coming.

Origin of gentle

Middle English gentil, from Anglo-French, from Latin gentilis of a gens, of one's family, from gent-, gens gens, nation; akin to Latin gignere to beget — more at kin

First Known Use: 13th century

Rhymes with gentle



noun gen·tle

Definition of gentle

  1. :  a person of gentle birth or status

Examples of gentle

  1. <the archbishop treated both the gentles and the commoners with respect and kindness>

14th Century

First Known Use of gentle

14th century



verb gen·tle

Definition of gentle

gen·tledgen·tling play \ˈjent-liŋ, ˈjen-təl-iŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to raise from the commonalty :  ennoble

  3. 2 a :  to make gentler b :  to make (an animal) tame and docile c :  mollify, placate d :  to stroke soothingly :  pet

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to become gentle <the wind gentled>

Examples of gentle

  1. <employees soon learned that their hot-tempered boss needed to be gentled several times a day>

  2. <soothingly gentled his cat's head as she was being treated by the vet>

14th Century

First Known Use of gentle

14th century

GENTLE Defined for Kids


adjective gen·tle \ˈjen-təl\

Definition of gentle


  1. 1 :  having or showing a kind and quiet nature :  not harsh, stern, or violent <He was a large but gentle man.>

  2. 2 :  not hard or forceful <a gentle wind>

  3. 3 :  not strong or harsh in quality or effect <a gentle soap>

  4. 4 :  not steep or sharp <gentle hills>

gen·tle·ness \ˈjen-təl-nəs\ noun
gent·ly \ˈjent-lē\ adverb

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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