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 : 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 epithetgentle 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 gentling (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 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 Coombs, who has short hair and several tattoos, is a charming and gentle muse. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "The Visceral Satisfactions of a Disabled Photographer’s Gaze," 6 Feb. 2020 However, Roberts has tried to offer a kindler, gentler, more just view of his branch of government. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "SCOTUS chief John Roberts seems exhausted by Trump," 5 Feb. 2020 Zach Woods is a gentle comedy assassin, one who quietly steals scenes, expertly dismembers them, and respectfully buries their corpses. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Avenue 5 star Zach Woods on the joke he told that fills him with shame — and the best heckle he's received," 31 Jan. 2020 Still, while Sachs is one of the most exciting voices in American indie cinema, his European sojourn is sometimes a little too sleepy for its own good—beautiful in the moment, but too gentle to leave a lasting impression. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Frankie Is a Little Too Sleepy for Its Own Good," 25 Oct. 2019 Our instructor, Carly Benson, took us through a gentle but effective yoga flow with breaks perfectly timed to gaze out at the mountains (and take a few pictures). Casey Gueren, SELF, "I Went to Las Vegas to Explore the Wellness Scene and It Was Honestly Incredible," 25 Oct. 2019 The Taliban hasn’t gotten any kinder or gentler during their years in exile. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Crocker on Afghanistan," 18 Sep. 2019 The wintry dawn setting of Act Three was especially effective, with its gentle but chilly snowfall in a setting of bare trees receding into a gray haze. cleveland.com, "Cleveland Opera Theater kicks off season with ingenious, talent-rich ‘La Boheme’," 16 Sep. 2019 Team owner Jim Irsay fired him after the 2017 season in perhaps the gentlest way possible, reminiscing with Pagano postgame before making the announcement. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Former Colts coach Chuck Pagano says 'it'll be pretty cool' to return," 21 Aug. 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 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

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gentle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gentled. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for gentle

gentle

adjective
How to pronounce gentle (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gentle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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