gentile

noun
gen·​tile | \ ˈjen-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce gentile (audio) \
plural gentiles

Definition of gentile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 often capitalized : a person of a non-Jewish nation or of non-Jewish faith especially : a Christian as distinguished from a Jew
2 : pagan
3 often capitalized : a non-Mormon

gentile

adjective

Definition of gentile (Entry 2 of 2)

1 often capitalized
a : of or relating to the nations at large as distinguished from the Jews also : of or relating to Christians as distinguished from the Jews
b : of or relating to non-Mormons
2 : pagan
3 [borrowed from Latin gentīlis] : relating to a tribe or clan

Synonyms for gentile

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of gentile in a Sentence

Noun a strict sect that believes that fellowship with gentiles should exist only for the purposes of conversion
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When a gentile plays a Jew, the results are often more affected, the mannerisms pronounced, which can often mean the difference between someone playing Jewish vs. inhabiting a Jewish character. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2022 After finding a new job abroad, Xaver, a gentile, fell in love with Dina, the 17-year-old Catholic-Jewish daughter of his boss. Grace Browne, Wired, 3 Jan. 2022 If a film called for a Jewish character, a gentile would almost reflexively get cast in that role. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 10 Nov. 2021 In one sense Sebald’s use and depiction of repetition are historically specific, a German gentile’s reckoning with the legacy of the Holocaust. Ben Lerner, The New York Review of Books, 25 Feb. 2021 In contemporary times, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel sells the land to a gentile, which allows Jews to continue sowing and planting. Rabbi Avi Weiss, sun-sentinel.com, 3 May 2021 And, in the face of our modern plague, Zoom. *Gentle reminder, gentiles: Passover is a bread-free holiday. Rachel Levin, SFChronicle.com, 2 Apr. 2020 On its first weekend in business, the clientele included a mix of Jews, gentiles, individuals with special needs and those without special needs. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 24 Dec. 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, gains its strength not only from Jewish support, but also from the scores of millions of gentile Americans who cherish these bonds. Lou Weiss, WSJ, 21 Mar. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Three of the Comedian Harmonists were Jewish, three were gentile. Dana Bash And Abbie Sharpe, CNN, 15 Apr. 2022 Hoffman’s Shylock, in a 1989 Broadway production, was a cunning victim, literally spat upon by virtually every gentile character in the play. Washington Post, 3 Mar. 2022 What’s striking about this influx of Jewish characters is that only one kind was allowed: A male stand-up with a gentile love interest. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2022 On her podcast, Sarah Silverman has spoken passionately about how Jewish characters are regularly played by gentile actors, specifically lamenting the lack of meaty roles for women. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2022 Here and there it was relieved by the heroic efforts of Lotar, hiding in Prague, and his gentile wife, Zdenka. New York Times, 28 Mar. 2020 After the birth, her father, the son of a well-to-do Krakow family that ran a leather business, made arrangements for his infant daughter to be cared for by gentile friends, the Sendlers. Bart Barnes, Washington Post, 9 July 2019 After the birth, her father, the son of a well-to-do Krakow family that ran a leather business, made arrangements for his infant daughter to be cared for by gentile friends, the Sendlers. Bart Barnes, Washington Post, 9 July 2019 After the birth, her father, the son of a well-to-do Krakow family that ran a leather business, made arrangements for his infant daughter to be cared for by gentile friends, the Sendlers. Bart Barnes, Washington Post, 9 July 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gentile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of gentile

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for gentile

Noun

Middle English gentyl, gentile — more at gentle entry 2

Note: Historically the same word as gentle entry 2, with full vowel in the final syllable under influence of the Medieval and Late Latin source word.

Adjective

Middle English gentyl, gentile — more at gentle entry 1

Note: See note at gentile entry 1.

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Time Traveler for gentile

Time Traveler

The first known use of gentile was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near gentile

gentian violet lake

gentile

Gentile da Fabriano

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Statistics for gentile

Cite this Entry

“Gentile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gentile. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for gentile

gentile

noun, often capitalized
gen·​tile | \ ˈjen-ˌtīl How to pronounce gentile (audio) \

Kids Definition of gentile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who is not Jewish

gentile

adjective, often capitalized

Kids Definition of gentile (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to people who are not Jewish

More from Merriam-Webster on gentile

Nglish: Translation of gentile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gentile for Arabic Speakers

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