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

In a story arc that adds aching poignancy, Donna Migliaccio packs humor and solidity into landlady Fräulein Schneider, who is wooed by Herr Schultz, a gentle Jewish fruit merchant. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "In this Kit Kat Klub, there’s a little less sleaze but just enough sizzle," 4 Sep. 2019 Becoming aware of these impediments, perhaps even through Colbert’s gentle mocking, might lead more people to engage in pro-environmental activities. NBC News, "Does this reusable bag make me look gay? Perhaps, study finds," 2 Sep. 2019 Researchers at Harvard University and the City University of New York have come up with a gentle solution. Scientific American, "Nanomachines, Jellyfish Hugs and Hurricane Dorian From Space: The Week's Best Science GIFs," 30 Aug. 2019 Kiehl’s newest is an incredibly gentle product that removes dirt and oil without any harsh irritants. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "Can I Use My Boyfriend’s Moisturizer?," 30 Aug. 2019 This gentle giant with his lumbering gait and sweet personality touched the hearts of all who knew him. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Albert, the grizzly bear who loved PB&J sandwiches, has died," 30 Aug. 2019 By every account, leaders and managers who bully and berate their employees don’t make any more sales, reap more profits, win more games, or move up the corporate ladder faster than leaders who take a more gentle approach. Chris Woolston, Quartz at Work, "How to deal with an abusive boss," 29 Aug. 2019 The answer, foodies say, is to go back to a better, gentler age, when farmers worked with nature and did not try to dominate it. The Economist, "The foody benefits of farming vertically," 29 Aug. 2019 Chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced sitting on a chair, or standing using a chair for support. Alan Goch, sun-sentinel.com, "Events for Broward and Miami-Dade counties for Aug. 28-Sept. 3," 28 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 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

8 Sep 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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