gentle

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

Definition of gentle

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : free from harshness, sternness, or violence used gentle persuasion
b : tractable, docile a gentle horse
2 : soft, delicate the gentle touch of her hand
3 : moderate His doctor recommended gentle exercise.
4a : belonging to a family of high social station
b : honorable, distinguished specifically : of or relating to a gentleman
c : kind, amiable used especially in address as a complimentary epithet gentle reader
d : suited to a person of high social station the gentle art of sophisticated conversation
e archaic : chivalrous

gentle

noun

Definition of gentle (Entry 2 of 3)

: a person of gentle (see gentle entry 1 sense 4a) birth or status

gentle

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

Definition of gentle (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to become gentle the wind gentled

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Other Words from gentle

Adjective

gently \ ˈjent-​lē How to pronounce gentle (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 Rounding up the gentle giants would be a major undertaking — trapping them and transporting them poses dangers to both manatees and humans. Washington Post, 5 June 2021 Up and down the Sunshine State, manatees, the gentle giants of the inland waterways, are dying en masse. Jim Waymer, USA TODAY, 8 May 2021 The clear Maldivian waters allow for an aquarium-like view of the gentle giants. Laura Begley Bloom, Forbes, 16 Apr. 2021 The key to get through it all is to be gentle with ourselves and others, especially now, on this not-so-happy anniversary. Katie Hawkins-gaar, CNN, 13 Mar. 2021 Be gentle with yourself and others — and let the energy of the Pisces new moon carry you out of the cold. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, 12 Mar. 2021 Other tips include being gentle with the door, degreasing the grease filter, and utilizing the preset timers or monitoring your food to avoid overcooking and subsequent damage. Popular Science, 22 Jan. 2021 This is a great opportunity to teach boundaries and the importance of being gentle with animals. Traci Howerton, NOLA.com, 22 Jan. 2021 In the month and a half since my visit, however, the park has become a mecca for the gentle giants, with more than 466 manatees reported in the run on the day after Christmas. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 31 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Coconut milk gentles the green-chile heat in the thick, creamy sauce. Providence Cicero, The Seattle Times, 10 Aug. 2017 The dog, described as gassy but gentle, spent much of its time on stage plopped on its side. Joy Johnston, ajc, 24 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The color fades to gentle black as night makes its entrance. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2021 From ethereal blues to gentle yellows to feminine pink hues, the spring/summer 2021 runways are leaning into the power of color theory. Sara Holzman, Marie Claire, 13 Apr. 2021 In this six-week program, veterans have the opportunity to gentle wild mustangs. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, 22 Feb. 2018 Fawcett said the mustangs can be gentled into outstanding pleasure riding horses. Lynne Terry, OregonLive.com, 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 4a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

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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Time Traveler for gentle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gentle

Last Updated

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gentle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gentle. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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