adjective, gen·tler, gen·tlest.
- kindly; amiable: a gentle manner.
- not severe, rough, or violent; mild: a gentle wind; a gentle tap on the shoulder.
- moderate: gentle heat.
- gradual: a gentle slope.
- of good birth or family; wellborn.
- characteristic of good birth; honorable; respectable: a gentle upbringing.
- easily handled or managed; tractable: a gentle animal.
- soft or low: a gentle sound.
- polite; refined: Consider, gentle reader, my terrible predicament at this juncture.
- entitled to a coat of arms; armigerous.
- Archaic. noble; chivalrous: a gentle knight.
verb (used with object), gen·tled, gen·tling.
- to tame; render tractable.
- to mollify; calm; pacify.
- to make gentle.
- to stroke; soothe by petting.
- to ennoble; dignify.
- having a mild or kindly nature or character
- soft or temperate; mild; moderatea gentle scolding
- graduala gentle slope
- easily controlled; tamea gentle horse
- archaic of good breeding; noblegentle blood
- archaic gallant; chivalrous
- to tame or subdue (a horse)
- to appease or mollify
- obsolete to ennoble or dignify
- a maggot, esp when used as bait in fishing
- archaic a person who is of good breeding
early 13c., “well-born,” from Old French gentil “high-born, noble, of good family” (11c., in Modern French “nice, graceful, pleasing; fine pretty”), from Latin gentilis “of the same family or clan,” from gens (genitive gentis) “race, clan,” from root of gignere “beget,” from PIE root *gen- “produce” (see genus). Sense of “gracious, kind” (now obsolete) first recorded late 13c.; that of “mild, tender” is 1550s. Older sense remains in gentleman.