gentle

adjective
gen·​tle | \ ˈjen-tᵊl How to pronounce gentle (audio) \
gentler\ ˈjent-​lər How to pronounce gentler (audio) , -​tᵊl-​ər \; gentlest\ ˈjent-​ləst How to pronounce gentlest (audio) , -​tᵊl-​əst \

Definition of gentle

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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 the gentle art of sophisticated conversation
2a : tractable, docile a gentle horse
b : free from harshness, sternness, or violence used gentle persuasion
3 : soft, delicate the gentle touch of her hand
4 : moderate His doctor recommended gentle exercise.

gentle

noun

Definition of gentle (Entry 2 of 3)

: a person of gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 1a) birth or status

gentle

verb
gentled; gentling\ ˈjent-​liŋ How to pronounce gentling (audio) , ˈjen-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of gentle (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to raise from the commonalty : ennoble
2a : to make gentler
b : to make (an animal) tame and docile
c : mollify, placate gentled the raging king
d : to stroke soothingly : pet

intransitive verb

: to become gentle the wind gentled

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Other Words from gentle

Adjective

gently \ ˈjent-​lē How to pronounce gently (audio) \ adverb

Examples of gentle in a Sentence

Adjective

a dog that is gentle with children Your mother has a gentle manner. a gentle sense of humor I heard a gentle knock at the door. It's a delicate problem that requires gentle handling. The job requires a gentle touch. The cold snap was a gentle reminder that winter was coming.

Noun

the archbishop treated both the gentles and the commoners with respect and kindness

Verb

employees soon learned that their hot-tempered boss needed to be gentled several times a day soothingly gentled his cat's head as she was being treated by the vet
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The only things that are absolutely necessary for a skin-care routine are gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen. Sara Coughlin, SELF, "What’s the Actual Deal With Skin Toners and Essences?," 9 July 2019 Everyone who knew Eddie as a friend, or had the good fortune to share the stage with him, was touched by his gentle and generous nature. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Eddie Jones, Lois & Clark and A League of Their Own character actor, dies at 84," 8 July 2019 An easy and gentle way to get up Mount Baldy, one of the most popular hiking destinations in Eagle River, is now closed to the public. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Popular trail on private land near Eagle River’s Mount Baldy closed to the public," 4 July 2019 After an hour of gentle tumbling, about half of the water has been vaporized. Tyler Kord, Popular Mechanics, "Cooking (and Shrinking) the Modern Combat Ration," 29 June 2019 Reduce the heat to a gentle but continuous simmer, cover with the lid open slightly, and cook until the sausages are cooked through, about 15 more minutes. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Braised Chorizo and Grapes," 26 June 2019 Stock Up On Olive Oil Extra-virgin olive oil contains fatty acids similar to those found in our skin and is an incredibly gentle moisturizer. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 20 Best Instant Anti-Aging Beauty Secrets," 24 June 2019 The early front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, has so far fended off the relatively gentle wrath of his rivals. Steve Peoples, The Denver Post, "New phase in 2020 presidential race tests Democrats’ aggression," 24 June 2019 The method of cultivating this asset was neither gentle cajoling, nor persuasion, but torture, rape, and child trafficking. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Watch Ta-Nehisi Coates school Mitch McConnell on American history," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Coconut milk gentles the green-chile heat in the thick, creamy sauce. Providence Cicero, The Seattle Times, "Spread the word about the great South Indian flavors at Kathakali in Kirkland," 10 Aug. 2017 The dog, described as gassy but gentle, spent much of its time on stage plopped on its side. Joy Johnston, ajc, "Mastiff named Martha crowned world's ugliest dog," 24 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In this six-week program, veterans have the opportunity to gentle wild mustangs. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "The join up: When veterans and wild horses build trust with each other," 22 Feb. 2018 Fawcett said the mustangs can be gentled into outstanding pleasure riding horses. Lynne Terry, OregonLive.com, "Oregon Sunday lottery: Pick 4, Lucky Lines numbers drawn," 7 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of gentle

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for gentle

Adjective

Middle English gentyl "of aristocratic birth, exhibiting ideal characteristics of the wellborn, of excellent quality, gracious, courteous, kind," borrowed from Anglo-French gentil, borrowed from Medieval Latin gentīlis "of oneʼs own house, of good family or breeding, native, of a non-Jewish nation or faith, not Christian, pagan," going back to Latin "of a Roman gens, of oneʼs own family or tribe, native," from gent-, gens "race, people, gens" + -īlis, suffix of affiliation

Noun

Middle English gentil (usually plural), borrowed from Anglo-French, derivative of gentil "of aristocratic birth, gentle entry 1"

Verb

Middle English gentylen, derivative of gentyl gentle entry 1

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Statistics for gentle

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gentle

The first known use of gentle was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for gentle

gentle

adjective

English Language Learners 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

gentle

adjective
gen·​tle | \ ˈjen-tᵊl How to pronounce gentle (audio) \
gentler; gentlest

Kids Definition of gentle

1 : having or showing a kind and quiet nature : not harsh, stern, or violent He was a large but gentle man.
2 : not hard or forceful a gentle wind
3 : not strong or harsh in quality or effect a gentle soap
4 : not steep or sharp gentle hills

Other Words from gentle

gentleness \ ˈjen-​tᵊl-​nəs \ noun
gently \ ˈjent-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on gentle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gentle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gentle

Spanish Central: Translation of gentle

Nglish: Translation of gentle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gentle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gentle

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