See also: Gentile, gentilé, and ĝentile

English edit

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Etymology edit

A collage of Arab citizens of Israel. Such citizens are largely non-Jewish, and so are gentile (sense 1).

Borrowed from French gentil (gentile), from Latin gentīlis (of or belonging to the same people or nation), a semantic loan from Hebrew גוי‎, morphologically from gēns (clan; tribe; people, family) + adjective suffix -īlis (-ile). Doublet of gentle, genteel, and jaunty. See also gens, gender, genus, and generation.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒɛntaɪl/
  • Rhymes: -aɪl
  • Hyphenation: gen‧tile
  • (file)

Adjective edit

gentile (not comparable)

  1. Non-Jewish.
    Synonyms: non-Jewish, goyish
    • 1711, [John Hildrop], “The Preface”, in A Treatise of the Three Evils of the Last Times: [], London: Printed by M. J. for R[obert] Knaplock [], R. and J. Bonwicke [], and H. Clements [], →OCLC, pages lxxiv–lxxv:
      This ſhall bring down the Judgment upon Rome, preſently after the Appearance of Antichriſt: and as upon Rome, ſo alſo upon all the Gentile Chriſtians, who have a Name to live but are dead, being fallen away from their Firſt Love and Faith, and ſo having made themſelves Veſſels fit for Deſtruction, when this ſore Judgment ſhall go forth.
    • 1847, William Kelly, “Introduction”, in A Grammar of Gregorian, or Plain Chant Music, London: Thomas Richardson and Son, [], →OCLC, pages 11–12:
      If we read the Epistles of St. Paul, we shall soon discover what efforts the Jewish converts made to bring the Gentile converts into the observance of every Jewish custom compatible with christianity:[sic] and as we do not discover in those Epistles any traces of a dispute on this head between the Jewish and Gentile converts, we may fairly conclude that the Gentile converts adopted without hesitation the time-honoured manner of praising the true God made use of by the Jewish converts, instead of the Pagan mode of singing, which was then associated in their minds with every thing unclean and abominable.
    • 2001, E[d] P[arish] Sanders, “Jesus in Galilee”, in Doris Donnelly, editor, Jesus: A Colloquium in the Holy Land, New York, N.Y., London: Continuum International Publishing Group, →ISBN, page 14:
      There is further evidence of the fact that both Romans and the Herodians distinguished Jewish from Gentile areas and treated them differently. Herod did not produce pagan coins, bearing an image of Augustus or himself, but rather good Jewish coins. It is noteworthy that he built numerous pagan buildings, including temples honouring Augustus and an amphitheater for Greek games, and he donated gymnasia to territories that he did not govern: [] But (and this is a very big "but") he put none of these Gentile/pagan buildings in the Jewish parts of his domain.
  2. Heathen, pagan.
    • 2013, Marion Gibson, Imagining the Pagan Past: Gods and Goddesses in Literature and History since the Dark Ages, Abingdon, Oxon., New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 26:
      [John] Bale, following Annius [Annio da Viterbo], argued that druids, bards and other ‘gentile’ (pagan) priests had preserved from Noah’s time the memory of a true religion that believed ‘that there is one God, immortal and incomprehensible’ (‘unum esse Deum immortalem, et incomprehensibilem ...’).
  3. (Mormonism) Non-Mormon.
  4. Relating to a clan, tribe, or nation; clannish, tribal, national.
    • 1902, Frederick Engels, translated by Ernest Untermann, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Chicago, Ill.: C. H. Kerr & Co., →OCLC:
      As distinct from the old gentile order, the state, first, divides its subjects according to territory. As we have seen, the old gentile associations, built upon and held together by ties of blood, became inadequate, largely because they presupposed that the members were bound to a given territory, a bond which had long ceased to exist. The territory remained, but the people had become mobile. Hence, division according to territory was taken as the point of departure, and citizens were allowed to exercise their public rights and duties wherever they settled, irrespective of gens and tribe.
    • 1990, Leo Gumilëv, Ethnogenesis and the Biosphere, Moscow: Progress Publishers, →ISBN, page 85:
      It is possible to manage without a gentile system. Many ethnoi are divided into tribes and clans.
  5. Of or pertaining to a gens or several gentes.
    • 1877, Lewis H[enry] Morgan, Ancient Society, or, Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization, New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt and Company, →OCLC, pages 84–85:
      The council was the great feature of ancient society, Asiatic, European and American, from the institution of the gens in savagery to civilization. [] As the council sprang from the gentile organization the two institutions have come down together through the ages. The Council of Chiefs represents the ancient method of evolving the wisdom of mankind and applying it to human affairs. Its history, gentile, tribal, and confederate, would express the growth of the idea of government in its whole development, until political society supervened into which the council, changed into a senate, was transmitted.
    • 2011, Robin Fox, The Tribal Imagination: Civilization and the Savage Mind, Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard University Press, →ISBN, page 300:
      He [Lewis Henry Morgan] was anxious to look for the origins of the crucial "stage" that he found exemplified in his beloved Iroquois and the North American Indians generally, that of the gentes. [] Morgan called this gens or clan stage, perhaps confusingly, the stage of gentile society. His discovery that this form of what we would now call "unilineal descent" characterized not only the whole of North and South America, but also the original societies of Greece and Rome, was a stupendous revelation about the universal history of mankind. He knew little of Africa and Asia, but they would have supported his observation, the gentile organization—the clans—lasting in China, for example, until modern times.
  6. (grammar) Of a part of speech such as an adjective, noun or verb: relating to a particular city, nation or country.
    • 1825, Samuel Oliver Jun., A General, Critical Grammar of the Inglish Language; on a System Novel, and Extensive: [], London: Published, for the author, by Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, →OCLC, page 115:
      Gentile verbs are so denominated because derived from gentile nouns, or from proper nouns, or adnouns: they relate to countries, and to places generally, or to men: the following are examples: Greecise, Latinise, Anglicise, [] Aristotelise, Sophoclise, Shakesperianise. Gentile verbs in their radical form terminate in ise, with some few exceptions in fy, ate, and in their past participle with ised, being all of the first conjugation: they are formed by annexing ise to a gentile noun or to a proper substantive or to a proper adjective.
    • 1854, William Barnes, “Etymology”, in A Philological Grammar: Grounded upon English, and Formed from a Comparison of More Than Sixty Languages. [], London: John Russell Smith, [], →OCLC, page 71:
      Gentile Nouns. [] To this form belong our gentile nouns Englishman, Welshman, Scotchman, Irishman. These nouns are represented in Irish by adjectives or nouns of the form (1+ac): Alban-ac, Scotchman.

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun edit

gentile (plural gentiles)

  1. A non-Jewish person.
    Synonyms: non-Jew, goy
    • 1671, Theophilus Gale, “Of the Academicks, and New Platonicks of Alexandria”, in The Court of the Gentiles: or, A Discourse Touching the Original of Human Literature, both Philologie, and Philosophie, from the Scriptures, and Jewish Church: [], part II (Of Philosophie), Oxford: Printed by Will[iam] Hall, for Tho[mas] Gilbert, →OCLC, book III, page 253:
      Yea farther, ſo glorious, and raviſhing were the firſt dawnings of Goſpel light, which brought ſuch glad tidings of Salvation to Mankind, as that not only the Jews, but alſo ſome ſober minded, inquiſitive Gentiles rejoyced in this Light for a ſeaſon [] who yet never had a through work of Converſion on their hearts: []
    • 1810, George Ensor, “What Should Disqualify Persons from Being Electors or Representatives”, in On National Government, [...] In Two Volumes, volume II, London: Printed for J[oseph] Johnson, []; for the benefit of the Literary Fund, →OCLC, pages 32–33:
      If a Jew cheated a Gentile one sixth in the purchase or in the sale of any commodity, the Gentile was without remedy; not so if a Gentile imposed on a Jew to the same amount. Theft likewise by a Gentile from a Jew was death, not so if the parties were changed: and the same odious injustice they manifested in their law on homicide. [] it is rather extraordinary, that Plato should say, the penalty for the death of a native and of a foreigner should be different.
  2. (Mormonism) A non-Mormon person.
  3. (grammar) A noun derived from a proper noun which denotes something belonging to or coming from a particular city, nation, or country.
    • 1956, Herbert Weir Smyth, Gordon M. Messing, Greek Grammar, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, →ISBN, page 233:
      Gentiles are denominative nouns denoting belonging to or coming from a particular country, nation, or city. Gentiles are formed from proper nouns by secondary suffixes.

Hypernyms edit

Translations edit

See also edit

Italian edit

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /d͡ʒenˈti.le/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ile
  • Hyphenation: gen‧tì‧le

Etymology 1 edit

Borrowed from Latin gentīlis.

Adjective edit

gentile (plural gentili, superlative gentilissimo)

  1. kind, courteous
  2. gentle
  3. lovely
Derived terms edit
Related terms edit
Further reading edit
  • gentile1 in – Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana

Etymology 2 edit

From Latin gentīlis (heathen, pagan).

Noun edit

gentile m (plural gentili)

  1. gentile (a non-Jewish person)
Derived terms edit
Related terms edit
  • gentilità

Adjective edit

gentile (plural gentili)

  1. (literary) gentile (non-Jewish)
Further reading edit
  • gentile2 in – Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana

Latin edit

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit


  1. nominative/accusative/vocative neuter singular of gentīlis

References edit

Swedish edit

Adjective edit


  1. definite natural masculine singular of gentil