gentle

adjective
gen·​tle | \ˈjen-tᵊl \
gentler\ ˈjent-​lər , -​tᵊl-​ər \; gentlest\ ˈjent-​ləst , -​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 , 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 \ 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

Fred is a judgmental jerk to Eden’s father, while Serena is gentle and sympathetic to Mr. Spencer. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 13 Recap: 19 Startling Moments in 'The Word'," 11 July 2018 Natural repellents made with essential oils like citronella, lemon eucalyptus, and soybean are considerably gentler than DEET (though, again, not as effective). Megan Michelson, Outside Online, "DEET Will Kill Your Gore-Tex Jacket," 11 June 2018 Cox, a certified public accountant and lawyer from San Diego, was slightly gentler in his criticisms of California government and presented a more optimistic approach with his solutions. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "California Republican activists favor John Cox for governor, but remain divided | The Sacramento Bee," 6 May 2018 Cleansing conditioners are gentler and have emulsification factors, which wash hair in a smoother, less rough manner. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "Why Is Timothée Chalamet’s Hair So Great?," 12 Mar. 2018 Taoist Tai Chi is a slow and gentle series of movements to promote well-being for all ages and health conditions. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Davie area events July 18-28," 14 July 2018 The path traces a gentle stream into a narrow defile framed by soaring cliffs. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "10 best hikes in Arizona show off state's diverse scenery," 13 July 2018 López released the routine in 2011, along with a corresponding training board called the Transgression (and a gentler version called the Progression), which has a series of horizontal edges decreasing in depth from top to bottom. Ula Chrobak, Outside Online, "Climber Eva López Has a PhD in Finger Strength," 9 July 2018 The needles can be plain or accompanied with gentle currents of electricity, medication, or burning herbs. Houston Chronicle, "Pet Talk: Could your pet benefit from acupuncture treatment?," 6 July 2018

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

3 Nov 2018

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 \
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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Comments on gentle

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