See also: Gentle

English edit

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Etymology edit

From Middle English gentil (courteous, noble), from Old French gentil (high-born, noble), from Latin gentilis (of the same family or clan), from gens ([Roman] clan). Doublet of gentile, genteel, and jaunty.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

gentle (comparative gentler or more gentle, superlative gentlest or most gentle)

  1. Tender and amiable; of a considerate or kindly disposition.
    Stuart is a gentle man; he would never hurt you.
  2. Soft and mild rather than hard or severe.
    I felt something touch my shoulder; it was gentle and a little slimy.
  3. Docile and easily managed.
    We had a gentle swim in the lake.
    a gentle horse
  4. Gradual rather than steep or sudden.
    The walks in this area have a gentle incline.
  5. Polite and respectful rather than rude.
    He gave me a gentle reminder that we had to hurry up.
  6. (archaic) Well-born; of a good family or respectable birth, though not noble.

Synonyms edit

Antonyms edit

Derived 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.

Verb edit

gentle (third-person singular simple present gentles, present participle gentling, simple past and past participle gentled)

  1. (intransitive) To become gentle.
    • 2013, Kathryn L.M. Reynolds, Garland Roses, Kathryn L.M. Reynolds, →ISBN, page 226:
      “She's experienced a horrific and nasty scare and is in a state of shock, but otherwise she's relatively okay.” Conrad replied, his tone at first grim (as he recalled what he'd seen in the family room) and then it gentled to a more doctorial tone as he directed his next comments to his patient.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To ennoble.
  3. (transitive, animal husbandry) To break; to tame; to domesticate.
    • 2008, Frank Leslie, The Killing Breed, Penguin, →ISBN:
      Yakima could have tried to catch him, gentle him as Wolf had been gentled, but having two stallions in his cavvy would lead to a different kind of trouble.
  4. (transitive) To soothe; to calm; to make gentle.
    • 1996, William C. Loring, An American Romantic-realist Abroad: Templeton Strong and His Music, Scarecrow Press, →ISBN, page 201:
      A hornist, his playing gentled by perspective, is out of sight within the woods, but his notes are heard through or over the murmuring mix of bird song and breeze in leaves.

Noun edit

gentle (plural gentles)

  1. (archaic) A person of high birth.
    • c. 1590–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      Gentles, methinks you frown.
    • 2012, Lizzie Stark, Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games, Chicago Review Press, →ISBN, page 43:
      While actual medieval societies were full of lots of peasants and a few rich and noble gentles, SCA personas tend to be nobles rather than commoners.
  2. (fishing) A maggot used as bait by anglers.
    • 1846, Douglas William Jerrold, “The History of St. Giles and St. James”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Pooh! the whole thing is as alive and wrigging as an angler's box of gentles
    • 1983, The Fisherman Who Laughed, page 67:
      Years ago, on Victoria's Port Phillip Bay, the recognised bait for garfish were `gentles', a genteel word for maggots, which were especially grown for gar fishermen.
  3. A trained falcon, or falcon-gentil.